I have always been a fan of Sachin Tendulkar and his batting. He had been the voice and the ambassador for the game in India and the World. He had performed in all parts of the globe and gave it his all despite the handicap of his team in the '90s. He was written off a few years back only to return even stronger. Not very long ago he won the ICC player of the year and was ranked No. 1.
Four Test matches and everything he was and did seems to be forgotten. He has received flak that he cannot play against quality opposition, and more annoyingly that he does not perform when it matters. There has also been talk, questioning his commitment and the possibility of his playing for records and money.
Figures can be put together to show the world that he out-performed even the best of the opposition and on seaming and green tops. Instances are many when he played for his nation with terrible pain (both physical and mental) and stood tall while the rest crumbled. His words gave the world strength when the match fixing scandal was pushing fans away from the game.
It would be foolish to comment on his commitment after hearing his teammates talk of his enthusiasm.
I was always in the support of IPL only for the fact that it gives an opportunity for the masses to watch their stars live in action, for the number of international matches played even in cities is low and rare. Another point is that it gives budding crickets chance to share a dressing room with the very best. But this is a point which is taken by every critic questioning Sachin for playing in the IPL and then resting during the Windies tour. Though there was a clear motive to give chance to the youngsters, it will not be taken.
All that will be said is IPL seems a priority to “national service”. When else could have the youngsters been tested, if not in the West Indies? It was very clear that Rahul and VVS had not played in the WC and hence needed international match practice before the England series. And missing that tour is not the main reason, if at all, for his failure in the current series. The opposition bowled very well and he couldn’t convert his starts. Let us give credit to the English bowlers. They were as good as any the world as seen.
The critics are not going to stop. It is known that they see the half empty glass. For them, a diamond will be but a piece of glass.
However, I have a plea to my favourite sportsman and here it is.
You have given enough opportunities for the people to watch you live in action and have a glimpse of your genius, and definitely IPL has been the main reason. In four years, more people have had this wonderful opportunity than all the earlier 17 years put together. That is something many will not disagree. And I have supported Mumbai though I am from a different city only for one reason and the world knows it.
I know you do not play for money and I know it is all for the passion and love for the game and the country. I would now like to make a humble request to you. Please for heavens, ours and your sake play the champions league if you have to and be done with it and forget IPL. Spend time with your family for those two months from the next season, coach your son and get the much deserved rest. That will help you be fitter for the rest of the year for at least two full years and I hope I am being pessimistic. At least it will shut some mouths for a while.
You were, are and will be the best until you know its time. And now the nation needs your service more than ever before, in my opinion.
From now on I will do my bit. I am with the Deccan Chargers from the next season irrespective of your participation. And even if you do play, you will remain my favourite.