Sorry and Thank You, Sachin!

As I started to write this post, a billion hearts are counting each clock tick before the actual start of a test match that will be remembered for the iconic Sachin Tendulkar playing his 200th and his last international match of his glorious career.

Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar for me, is more than a human (perhaps a super-human and not GOD unlike many of us fans believe he is). No doubt his cricketing brain is something that we have to do a lot of research on, to understand how he could be on top most of the times tuning himself to counter opponents’ plans, what distinguishes him from other contemporary great cricketers is his way of handling criticism and deification!

Sachin Autograph

In my view, Sachin is the most criticised (rather scrutinized) cricketer of all time. If India lost when he got a hundred, people said he plays for records and not for winning matches for the team; if he gets out soon, people said he will not play in important matches. Every tom, dick and harry commented on his shot selection. He got bowled out thrice consecutively, we said his reflexes are slowing up. Journalists like Arnab Goswami nailed him in interviews like this asking when he would retire, as if it was their right to know everything going on his minds.

Who are we all and people like Arnab (apologies for taking specific names) in front of Sachin Tendulkar? Its his humility that accepted whatever we expressed although he knows we don’t fit to comment on him!

Sachin, “as you are all set to retire in the next 5 days (or less), for all the criticism and comments that we (mere mortals) have made on you, we all should feel sorry for you before we thank you! Otherwise we will remain the most disloyal cricket fans.

Thank you Sachin, for bearing the burden of more than a billion hopes on your shoulders each time you walked in to bat, thanks for all the entertainment you provided with bat and ball in all formats of the game, thanks for introducing the destructive batting in ODI cricket, thanks for showing us that getting 200 in an ODI is possible, thanks for all your monumental Test, ODI and T20 innings (I don’t have better vocabulary to describe them, so I am refraining from writing about them), thanks for showing us the true gentlemanly behavior on and off the field.

Finally, salutes to your skill, determination, commitment and integrity!

I am sure you will never be forgotten by the cricketing world for all your achievements and I am honored to have been born and grown up in ‘the era of Sachin Tendulkar in the world cricket’. I will proudly tell witnessing your greatness to my children, grandchildren and many generations to come, as long as I can! Finally I pray the almighty that you shall have a great last test match, allowing you to play freely without any burden unlike what you did for 24 years! Now, its time for you to relax and time for people like me to believe the hard fact that you will not be seen in action anymore after November 18!

Cheers!!!!”

Is IPL a clean world?

While I started to write this post, Rahul Dravid was speaking at a Press Conference in most bizarre situations he would have imagined himself to be in. “Face is the index of mind,” yes.. it read he is distressed! Not only Dravid, the news of 3 players who were arrested on charges of spot fixing came as a shocker for all the true cricket fans. It was not just this incident alone that prompted me to write this post, but I have been thinking for several days about the IPL and the contribution (or lack) of it to the cricket. This just came as a right time to plug it in a midst huge uproar in India and the cricket playing nations on the integrity of IPL.

IPL has made the fans loyal to their local clubs and rightly so, because of several reasons. But how good is it contributing to cricket? Are we seeing a clean world?

We have already seen the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Jacques Kallis, Rahul Dravid, unarguably the right representatives of the gentleman game losing their cool, shouting and bragging. Its tough to imagine the greats who have always controlled their emotions on and off the fields behave such way. I believe there is some added pressure from the franchises apart from the pressure of billion hopes on them, that is leading them to this kind of surprising behavior.

We have seen the players sledging in the international cricket but not this kind of absurd behavior not only from the three I mentioned above but also from almost everyone. A wicket taken by a bowler, even after getting hammered for lots of runs by a batsman leads to a rather meaningless bragging by the former. Giving send offs to the batsmen has become the daily business of watching on the TV. I have never seen such kind of emotions running in the players at any level of cricket except for in IPL. What’s the reason for this? Is it because the players are feeling “belonged” to franchises more than they belong to country? Sad part of this story is that the very next year the same player may be playing with the guy who he has given a nice meaningless send off, thanks to the transfers and auctions.

And then came the Spot fixing which the ICC and other cricket boards have been insisting on to have a check on the proceedings of the IPL for many years. The credit of the good of IPL if any, will be happily taken by the BCCI while it runs away from these kind of issues very smartly. Where will the BCCI hide its face now after this shame on Indian cricket? IPL, since the time of initiation, has been surrounded by a monster called “dollars” which is the primary reason for the players to lose their track. Who would have expected Dravid to come to a press conference as a captain of a team that had players who betrayed the Cricket and its fans?!

I am not trying to say that IPL is useless. Yes, it is certainly useful and successful in getting the emotions out of the best gentlemen of cricket in the current arena. It is also successful in bringing the dark shades of Indian players and Indian cricket out. More importantly, it has succeeded in getting the international players understand the Indian conditions so that they play well in their bilateral and other series at international level.

Above all, IPL is a huge market which if handled by able administrators can lead to a wonderful world. Else, the current start of the dreadful scenario can eat away the roots of its parent, the Cricket!