We are in the stage where just 3 World Cup matches are left, each of them is a virtual final for the teams. The World Cup 2011 has drawn attention of many because of many on-field and off-field reasons, one of them primarily being the notion (hope, for few?) that this is the LAST World Cup for batting maestro, a.k.a. Sachin Tendulkar, popularly called as GOD by many of his fans. Of course, the encounters like India-Australia and India-Pakistan, to name a few, have added much spice to the World Cup.
Let me just stick to my topic in this post, my feeling on whether Sachin is a match winner or a pure entertainer or both.
Considering the most easiest of those, let’s see if he is a pure entertainer. I don’t think anyone needs an explanation on this argument that he is the most successful entertainer of all Cricketers. The chant “Sachin…Sachin” when he plays in India and abroad speaks about it. It may be primarily because he virtually chases (for many, he plays for records!) all the records in the record book by playing all the shots in the cricket book (for many, he is a cricket book!), like the way they have to be played (unlike the likes of helicopter or aircraft shots 😛 ). More than anything, he plays under the pressure of a billion hopes that he scores a century each time he comes to bat. In that sense, because he didn’t/couldn’t satisfy them each time, he might be considered a pure entertainer whenever he played a big innings and a heart-breaker for many whenever he failed! However, more often than not, he is always a pure entertainer.
Coming to the toughest debate whether he is a match winner, many start being very critical with his play when team loses. I agree, he didn’t win many matches single-handedly and I also would like to hint people that cricket isn’t/can’t be a one-man show all the times. Keeping aside the matches India lost badly when he hadn’t performed (many say he plays for some record and gets out after reaching it!), there have been many instances when he did almost everything what he could, but team lost because of other 10 members not performing well. In that case, it’s very unfair on the part of critics that he can’t win matches and he is NOT a match winner. But a match winner is the one who wins the heart of people whenever he comes on to the ground, who gives more often than not his 100%, who mentors his team-mates and help them play better and who always plays the game in a different level. In that sense he is a genuine match winner.
Now, let me try to put the same with the help of records and myths people have about Sachin not being a match winner.
- “Whenever he scores a century, India loses”. Absolutely a myth it is! Out of his 48 ODI centuries, India won JUST 33 times and we expect him to win single-handedly all the games, which is not possible in cricket.
- “He is not as good a match-winner as compared to the likes of Sehwag, Yuvraj and Dhoni”. A myth which seems to have supportive records but once a thorough understanding is got, everyone agrees that it is a myth too! Coming to Sehwag, I hardly find many ODIs when he played to his potential. Yuvraj is in my view the 2nd biggest match winner in current Indian team after Sachin. Few people tend to argue that he is a good match winner based on the number of times he scored a 50 and India won. One has to note that he is a middle-order batsman. Whenever a decent start is provided by the openers, it becomes easy for middle-order to try and play till the end (as he played against Australia in Quarter Finals of World Cup 2011). I’m not undermining his or any middle-order batsman’s efforts anyways. I have due respect for them. And, finally people start talking about Dhoni, I feel there is no need to include him in the list of the best match winners for India.
- “He only plays for records, not for team”. Absolutely not! He plays for team, in the process of which, he gets to records. Please find the number of times he got out in 45-49 and 90-99. If he were to play for records he should have gone to a century of centuries many years earlier!
I don’t want to expand this post much longer and letting you get bored, but my strong opinion is that he is the best match-winner for India, day and night playing under the pressure of a billion hopes for more than 2 decades.
So, the third option that I had in the topic is deduced and he is not only a genuine match-winner but a pure entertainer!
That’s all folks, I didn’t mean to hurt anyone’s feelings and I hope you also share some interesting facts with me. Any comments are always welcome.