After becoming an expert in the hook shot that ends in a six over the third-man boundary and scoring a few goals in hockey after all the hard work was done by the other 10 players, I confessed to myself that studying the two games from the ropes was a better option. Though I wish I had started that process earlier than 1996, around 15 years of watching, reading and sometimes still practising that 'hook shot' over has allowed me this space on Cricketnext and IBNLive to write and get read.
Don't watch Tendulkar for the wrong reasons
Posted on: 01:53 PM IST Mar 12, 2012 IST
Stop, stop right there and come out of the stadium. Switch off that TV. You have messed it all up. Your cricketing viewpoint is suffering from a squint. He broadcast smiles to your faces, for 23 years, and now you have reduced him to a mere number. You are watching Sachin Tendulkar for all the wrong reasons now.
People are counting matches, innings, days, months, years - yes people, not fans, because fans take delight in watching, not counting - and have reached this day, this day when Tendulkar served those mathematical minds his 99th international century.
What's the fun of watching cricket, or for that matter any sport, if you are doing it with a motive. The gratification, the pleasure of it is lost then. Then you are doing it for an individual, for a number, not for the joy of watching sport. You don't love the game then, you love the individual. In fact, not even the individual, you just love the numbers that are tagged to him. No matter how much he may score in that case, the 'one more' thirst will never be quenched. The number, in that case, has superseded the individual and hence the game.
People say the 100th hundred is playing on Tendulkar's mind. Why won't it, when he is being hounded by you? Tendulkar is not a run-monger, so don't reduce him to that. He is an ambassador of the game. If Tendulkar's batting has brought you to cricket, nobody will be happier than Tendulkar himself. But if you go away from cricket because he didn't score his 100th hundred or when he hangs up his boots, nobody will be more hurt than Tendulkar.
But that insatiable hunger, those eyes bigger than one's stomach refuse to admit that they follow an individual, not the game. Hence, the talk has returned. The roadside chaiwallahs, that paan shop in a shady corner, those dhabas in pavement shacks, the barber chairs on the side-lanes are all talking about it. Will he get it in the Asia Cup?
No doubt Tendulkar would want to be the first man on that cricketing Everest. No doubt every Indian wants him to get that monkey off his back. But what remains a worry is that the concentration is on the 100th, not the 99 he has already made, which brings us to a sorry conclusion that 'we are watching Tendulkar for the wrong reasons'.