Tuesday, July 3, 2007


Yesterday night, I stayed awake until 2 o clock to see India defeating South Africa and clinching a series win against them for the first time outside the subcontinent. I was happy that India won but felt happier because of another incident, Sachin Tendulkar sharing the Man Of the Series award that he got with Yuvraj Singh. It was a wonderful gesture from a man who holds almost all the batting records the game can have. He understood that Yuvraj deserves it than him as he was the one who finished both the victories and Sachin was genuinely happy sharing it with him. His broad smile told that even though the pain of the world cup was still visible behind it to those who have been following him for the last 18 years.

It was just a series win over a better opponent but Sachin was visibly excited and he was like a child with a new toy in hand! Forget the perfection of his technique, forget the glory he has brought for India, forget his personal integrity, this child like enthusiasm and excitement when wearing the Indian cap is what makes him truly special. And he is one who has never been blinded by fame and money.

In international sports, it is difficult to deal with failure and adversity and so many have perished before reaching their goals. But some times handling success and its after effects is a greater challenge. Australia needed only 10 days to recover from the Ashes defeat and start a journey to bring it back. England took 1 year to digest the success and subsequently lost it 5 – 0! After one world cup win, Maradona turned his attentions to drugs. Marat Safin stagnated after one Australian open crown and still remains as a one slam wonder. Compare this with the desire and commitment sachin has shown over the years. He is a man with more than 75 international centuries but even now after a century, the smile and happiness on his face match the same we saw 18 years before when he scored his first Test century, a magnificient 119 at Old Trafford.

Sachin and Kambli made their debuts almost together and during a interview, their coach Ancharekar, when asked about who is more talented between the two, took some time to reply and later remarked that kambli possess more natural talent. And now looking back, it seems almost impossible. Can you believe that kambli is the only Indian batsman to score back-to-back double centuries? But somewhere he lost his way. That is where Sachin’s greatness should be valued. Amidst all the success, glory , fame and money he kept his head and was true to basic human values. It is difficult to think of another sport person who was this much famous and at the same time this much devoid of controversies

We should understand that cricket is not only about fame, money and endorsements but also days and weeks and years of back breaking work and only those who are really committed to the cause will embrace glory. I wont call him the greatest batsman India has produced. Sunil Gavaskar or Rahul Dravid may put a better claim for that. But his place is surely there at the top. Sachin is aged now, he is nearer to his retirement, he is lacking that spark in his batting but his joy in playing for India and the joy he provides to millions around the globe is still undiminished.