May 22, 2002

The Greatness of Sachin Tendulkar... ... or the lack of it, depending on which side of the cricketing divide you stand. I am a big fan, so not much doubt as to where my sentiments lie. I guess it's fair to say that most people would put the man in the category of greats. But it's when it comes to adding the 3 letters "est" that the loyal fan starts fighting off the flak.
A batsman with 8000 Test runs, a glut of tons, multiple records, the best one-day batting record et al has to be one of the greats. But that's part of the problem - when you are in stratospheric heights, the terms of enumeration change. All the minor flaws are subject to microscopic examination. And the loyalists have to fend off accusations that yes, he's good, but not good enough. And tell you what, we are running out of convincing arguments to defend our position and haven't got much to attack with, except weak comparisons. He lost yet another chance to prove his greatness yesterday (or is it that the cricketing gods would not have it yet?). Whatever our positions, we have to grant this - that the place of Sachin Tendulkar among the greatest is not assured. And by the greatest, I mean the Bradmans, Sobers & the Richards of the cricketing worlds, against whom very little criticism can be lobbed. Right now, he'd be alongside the Greg Chappells of history. I think and hope Tendulkar's better than that at least.
I guess this isn't something he must be oblivious to. I hope it's gonna be like the tons he didn't score in the first 4 years of his one-day career. There's still things like scoring a double hundred abroad, winning a test series abroad, a triple ton - but we do ask too much of him? Ravi Shastri remarked that he'd been sent down from the heavens to play cricket. He hasn't fulfilled his destiny if that is true. Most of the greatest players of all time have won the World Cup (except for the English greats). Will he be the greatest of the one-day era not to? Or will India grab the xxx3 charm ('83: World Cup, '93: Hero Cup)?
Whatever. Time's not sticking around for ever.

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