S Radhakrishnan, better known as RK, is a sports freak. After dabbling in the world of Physics at the Madras Christian College, he did his Masters in Business Administration from Mumbai. Working in a corporate world didn’t suit him and he decided to enter the world of journalism. During his stint with ESPN Star Sports, RK covered the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2003, before moving on to join NEO Sports as their prime anchor. He is now the face of NEO Prime and NEO Sports.
Posted on: 11:34 PM IST Feb 29, 2008 IST
You wouldn't attempt to teach managerial skills to Sir Alex Ferguson just as you would refrain from commenting too much about Roger Federer's game after his loss to Novak Djokovic in the semi final of the Australian Open this year. Not too far away is the bat of Sachin Tendulkar. The beauty of the Mumbai batsman lies in the fact that not even the most ardent of his fans is ever satisfied with the number of runs he has scored. Everyone wants more. Both the severest of his critics and the biggest of his fans would have wanted him to score at least fifty more runs every time he got out.
I am not the best qualified to talk about his batting technique but his numbers tell you a story. He has scored close to 1500 runs in the last one year in the shorter version of the game at an average of close to 48. That is still five runs more per innings that he has otherwise managed to score through the course of his career. As far his test batting is concerned, he averages close to 56, which by any standards is more than good. There were people constantly after him prodding him to think about retirement. There were people who constantly reminded him that he is not growing any younger and they were people who questioned his change of approach. Sachin has answered almost all those questions very well on the field. But what interests me is the mini transformation Sachin has undergone off the field.
We always knew what Sachin could do on the field. But his change of stance off the field is worth taking a note. Remember Vadodara on the eve of his 400th one dayer. One of the scribes actually asked Sachin whether he felt he had more lows than highs in his career. "Please check your records." Sachin shot back. Now normally, any journalist would agree that it's more a Souravesque answer. Or any of the other youngsters might have spoken that way. Not Sachin. And now after qualifying for the finals of the CB series in Australia, Sachin had a word for his detractors. "Its just too many brains working at times." Again interesting but a worthy comment I thought. It's a comment that tells me that Sachin has finally decided to take a more open stance when it comes to dealing with the media. And I think it's not a bad idea. More often than not, we have sections of media projecting Sachin as a super human one day and a demon the very next. It just cannot happen that way. You are either a good player or you are not. Simple.
I think the greatest sportspersons will have their blips. They are, believe it or not, human after all. Sir Alex Ferguson has gone without adding much to his trophy cabinet a few seasons. A Roger Federer will have his off days on court. But at the end of the day, they are champions. And as Federer, after losing in the semis of the Australian Open said, "Reaching the semi finals is not bad you know."