The Analog Alternative...

Stop the world... let me off !

My Photo
Location: Bangalore, India

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

When going gets tough...

The tough gets going.
Enough of it...huh

"Sachin Tendulkar" – People call him 'the best in business', 'living legend of the cricketing world', 'bigger than the game itself', etc…
Global media has not spared any possible adulatory figure-of-speech trying to describe him over the last one and a half decade. Match after match, series after series, and year after year - this man kept defining standards and continued exceeding them. In a sporting world of swollen egos, pouting stars, silly belligerence on the field, artless sledging, he has never undignified the adulation he has been given.

It has never been easy to equate Tendulkar's cricket with his age. Such was his brilliance in 1992 that it was easy to forget that he was only 18 then. Now, when he is 30+, marveling at the achievements of a man so young, and speculating about the number of years he has still left, we often overlook his cricket age.

It was March 3rd, stuck at the Frankfurt airport, I was flipping through the pages of a British newspaper, and suddenly the sports page flashed: "Panesar proves star turn on his debut". I wondered, why was Hoggard not mentioned for claiming majority of wickets and this sardar is being talked about. Then, as I went on reading, I realized it was more a description of how heavily prized a scalp was Mr. Sachin for any debutant, than a match report. It read -

"Suddenly, the novice was no longer one. Panesar is shy and reserved by nature, but for a few joyous seconds — those priceless few moments in time after sporting nirvana has been touched — his inhibitions were cast off. He leapt and danced, not quite sure what to do or say, but one thing that he did know was that he had arrived".

Panesar had claimed Sachin, his own hero. The delight of this newbie, and implicated fuss in the media reflect the greatness and respect that Tendulkar enjoys worldwide.

Roger Federer remarked recently that despite the apparent ease, with which he dominates, often tennis is hard work for him and he must labor.
For Tendulkar, it was the same, so fluently did he play once that we did not see nor appreciate his struggle, his singular focus of mind, which ensured that bad days or good, he found a way to produce his best for India.
Now his struggles are more evident, and yet there is a particular pleasure in watching Tendulkar past his prime, it is moving yet instructive to watch a champion return from injury and grapple with his game, propelled by a desperate, undying belief that even now, so many years later, he is still, dammit, good enough.