Posts Tagged ‘Bishan Singh Bedi’

Shridhar Pandey

It is gradually becoming more difficult to put up with all the talks surrounding Sachin Tendulkar’s retirement. Therefore I decided to vent out my emotions on this subject and make an honest appeal to all those running their mouths to ‘leave him alone!’ But before I begin, let me put down a couple of disclaimers. Firstly, Sachin Tendulkar is the God of Cricket to me without any second thought. Yet I would use ‘he’ instead of ‘He’ to refer to him hereafter. For I don’t want this article to be classified as a testimonial; it should be viewed from a rather neutral standpoint. Secondly, this might also draw flak from a section of people who in my view are atheists (in a world where cricket is a religion). So if you are one, this probably is the right time to stop reading this any further.

Ponting's retirement announcement has renewed the Tendulkar retirement debate. © AFP

Ponting’s retirement announcement has renewed the Tendulkar retirement debate. © AFP

It would be a grave injustice to a cricket lover if I were not to talk about the recent conclusion of one of the brightest cricketing careers of all time – that of the former Australian captain Ricky Ponting, the most successful cricketer (three world cups and more than 100 Test victories) the world has ever witnessed. In my books, if there ever was a cricketing shot that would come second to Sachin’s backfoot punch down the ground past the bowler, that certainly would be Ponting’s crackling pull shot.

Arguably the second best Aussie batsman after the Don, Ponting for some reason could never win the hearts of majority of Indian fans. Nonetheless, deep down inside all of them knew that he was a brilliant operator. His records speak volumes about his achievements. He shall not be remembered for the last couple of years but for the decade before that, when at one time, people got the feeling that he might overtake the Master himself as far as runs and centuries were concerned. His retirement would leave behind a big void not just in Australia but cricket all over the world. What it has also done is add fuel to the time-for-Sachin-to-retire guffaw.

So without any further ado, let me move over to what I had begun with. What pains me – believe me it does – is watching the same people, who used to hail Tendulkar at other occasions, now question his place in the side. I suppose I would be within my rights to question their loyalty. It has been the most illustrious cricketing career so far and yet he does not have the liberty to have a lean patch! Is he the only one who is not living up to their standards in the team? If history is to believed, he would sooner than later orchestrate a comeback that would silence those detractors one more time.

The shame is every Tom, Dick and Harry has an opinion on this subject. People who hardly follow the game are also ready with a piece of advice to the one who has spent his life serving it. That reminds me of a scene from the popular American sitcom F-R-I-E-N-D-S. It goes something like this:

Joey (to Ross): Rachel is having Braxton Hicks Contractions

Ross: Thank God! That is no big deal; most women don’t even feel them!

Rachel: Okay, no uterus, no opinion!

That one line sums it up all. Former Indian spinner Bishan Singh Bedi echoed similar opinion when he said “Only those who’ve played at least 150 Tests should be analyzing Sachin’s game.

A whole generation might lose their interest in the game the day he calls it off. That day the game would become poorer than ever. Probably never to be replenished. Indian supporters would never again be able to say the famous phrase “Sachin hai na!” in almost every dire situation. This might be the twilight of his career, but this certainly is not the end for there would be one last flourish before it all comes to an end.

And lastly to all those who believe that “you either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become a villain” – he is not living to see himself being called a villain; rather he is contemplating something of a much bigger magnitude. I refuse to call it a struggle. This might well be ‘the quiet before the storm’.