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Posts Tagged ‘Sachin Tendulkar’

Last Sunday, Bollywood luminaries and team-mates, his childhood coach, Ramakant Achrekar, and those he grew up admiring gathered at the south Mumbai residence of Mukesh and Nita Ambani, owners of the Mumbai Indians IPL franchise, to celebrate two decades of Sachin Tendulkar in Test cricket. There was even Asha Bhosle – of Cornershop’s Brimful of Asha fame – to sing that classic from Umrao Jaan, Aankhon ki Masti (The Magic of these eyes).

Tendulkar was a John McEnroe-admiring curly-haired bully of eight when the movie was released in 1981. But as much as he would have enjoyed the evening, it wouldn’t have been a patch on what had happened earlier in the day, as victory by an innings and 24 runs over Sri Lanka at the Brabourne Stadium took India to the top of the Test rankings for the first time.

To understand what it meant to Tendulkar, you perhaps need to go back a decade, to a Test tour of Australia when he was captain.

You can read the full article here.

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Like everyone, Sanjay Manjrekar remembers those days, the excited buzz around the maidans, the heady whiff of potential greatness from Shivaji Park. He was heir apparent to the great Mumbai batting tradition when the two schoolboys came along. Few could have predicted then what we know now, that one boy would go on to be the greatest batsman of his era, while the other would become a cautionary tale, a trivia question, a symbol of promise unfulfilled. One is a “legend” to the other. For the one that conquered cricket fields from Sydney to Multan, the failure of the other to do so is “one of my biggest regrets”.

“At the school level, Vinod Kambli’s performances were on par with Tendulkar’s,” recalls Manjrekar. “They would get big scores in big games. That’s where the comparisons began and people started mentioning them in the same breath. But I’ll tell you one thing. Mumbai cricket’s custodians knew who was the better of the two, because Tendulkar got his break much earlier. There was absolutely no doubting his ability. Kambli was a talented left-handed batsmen, but there was a bit of a question mark about his ability to play fast bowling. In Mumbai, you’ve got to be a good player of seam bowling to get the respect of the senior players. They were a little sceptical about Kambli.”

Having announced his arrival in such emphatic fashion, Kambli’s career essentially unravelled in less than a session on home turf. (more…)

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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart started composing at the age of five. Pablo Neruda wrote his Book of Twilights when he was 19. Sachin Tendulkar was all of six when he took up a bat in earnest. By the time he was 15, he was the most talked-about schoolboy cricketer ever. More than two decades on, he remains Indian cricket’s man for all seasons, the repository of a nation’s hope. Those that played with him in the days of auld lang syne have long since migrated to the coaching field and the commentary box. Tendulkar, his eyes perhaps set on a World Cup swansong on home turf, continues to mark his guard and settle into that unmistakable stance.

What is there left to say about this man? At the age of 18, he was standing on tiptoe to drive and cut Australia’s finest on his way to a century in Perth. At 21, he decided that he’d like to open in one-day cricket. He’s still going strong 45 hundreds later. A few days short of 25, he played an innings, with a desert storm as backdrop, that will never be forgotten by those fortunate enough to see it. At 30, faced with the longest lean trot of his career, he memorably decided to eschew the cover-drive in Sydney, ruining Steve Waugh’s farewell with a 241 that was an enactment of monastic denial on a cricket field. (more…)

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Sachin and Australia

Two days after I write something on Tendulkar and 20 years at the top, he reiterates one of my points about the true definition of greatness – how you perform against the very best. You can read it here.

 

 

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A couple of weeks ago, a magazine asked me to pick my top 10, along with a brief explanation why they had been picked.

This was my list:

Sunil Gavaskar

Sachin Tendulkar

Kapil Dev

Anil Kumble

Rahul Dravid

Vijay Merchant

Bishan Singh Bedi

CK Nayudu

Bhagwat Chandrasekhar

Sourav Ganguly

The top five are straightforward picks. No debate there. Merchant was the first recognised titan of the Mumbai school of batsmanship, while Bedi and Chandra were the most successful spinners of the pre-Kumble era. Ganguly makes it because of how he transformed Indian fortunes abroad as captain, while Nayudu was instrumental in the game gaining such a captive audience in the 1920s and ’30s. With those two, the impact that they had far outstrips any statistical shortcomings.

What do you think? How would your list differ? Also, which cricketers would make the list if the same exercise was carried out for Pakistan and Sri Lanka?

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You are an Indian cricketer, so revered/reviled by the public that you can’t step out without the sunglasses and wigs that wouldn’t have been out of place on a TV show about Scousers in the 1980s. The season is over and, with just a fortnight to go before the interminable cycle of gym, practice and commercial shoots starts up again, you decide to take your family and disappear into the wilds of the Masai Mara or Iceland.

You have a good time on holiday, putting away your favourite food and the odd beverage, those little luxuries that modern sport tends to deny its practitioners. Then, in the middle of the night, around the time cricket tragics back home wake up to tune into the play from New Zealand, there’s a knock on the door. It’s an inspection team from the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada). Bleary-eyed with sleep, you have to step into another room, drop your pyjamas and pee into a bottle, in full view of some stranger that you’ve never seen before.

This, in a nutshell, is the Doomsday scenario that has India’s cricketers refusing to accept Wada’s controversial “whereabouts” clause.

Read more here.

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