Saturday, November 14, 2009

A tribute to Sachin from a 'non-fan'

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

Life most other Indians of my age I grew up watching Sachin Tendulkar bat, blast and break records but unlike most I was never a big fan of the Master Blaster. Somehow I liked the sweet timing of Saeed Anwar, the classy backlift of Brian Lara and the crisis combating skills of Steve Waugh. Among all of them Anwar was my favourite as I always loved the ease with which he played. Not being Sachin's fan had another advantage which I later discovered as it put me in a rare and elite club among my peers.

Anwar is not in news any more, Lara may be busy enjoying Caribbean sunset and Steve Waugh is busy with charity work but the Master Blaster still pads up for India. Today I stand up to salute the man not because of the two decades he has survived in this sport especially being in India (We know more about cricket than the Britishers know about English) but for the fact that all his decisions and moves have been under public scrutiny. (Had we put our politicians through the same process we could have been a different nation.)

One thing that surely separates Sachin from many other great cricketers of his generation is his school boyish eagerness to learn and ability to change his game. Over the years Sachin has regularly changed his game according to the changes that have taken place in the game and some due to the injuries he suffered. From a flamboyant hard hitting batsman of 90s, Sachin is one of the most calm and composed cricketers of modern era.

Sachin's biggest asset has been his balance, be it on the back foot or on the front foot Sachin looks comfortable. He plays the cuts, pulls, drives and glances with equal ease. He may not have been blessed with the elegant foot work of Rahul Dravid or the timing of Saeed Anwar but he makes batting look easy with his simple balanced approach to the game. Even when completely out of of form Sachin never struggled on the 22 yard strip.

The gentleman approach with which Sachin plays reinstates the fact that cricket is perhaps still a 'Gentleman's Game.' Sachin is the like a holy book to anybody who wants to study a cricketer. In 20 years Sachin has come a long way from a young boy whom mothers across the country wanted to adore to being the biggest ambassador of the game. The manner in which he played against Australia we can surely see him for another two or three seasons.

Sachin, although you were never my favourite batsman and I'm not your biggest fan but thanks for giving me and millions around the world two decades of classic cricket!


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