Sachin

by Darren Dawson

And just like that, he is gone. But was he ever really here?

Their season horribilis has finally come to end. But, I ask you, what was more disappointing? The Indians’ below-par on-field performances, or their surly off-field attitude? This Indian tour will not be fondly remembered for a number of reasons.  

From the time the ageing advance-party arrived, surreptitiously practising in the MCG indoor nets, right up until the moment of their departure, the Indians have maintained the countenance of a team under siege. Waltzing through airports with dark sun-glasses and Dr Dre headphones affixed, offering an occasional “bird’ to the media, the players mostly looked for all the world like they wanted to be anywhere else but Australia. Who could forget the anger of the Indian supporters, locked out of the traditional practice session prior to the Sydney Test? I suppose losing Test matches only compounds that feeling of us against them. But as the tour wound on, the disconnect between the touring team and the cricketing public grew ever larger.

For the best part of two decades I have admired Sachin Tendulkar, marvelling at his batting genius. But as he approaches the end of his magnificent career, how is he feeling? For how much longer does he think he can play? Is the somewhat quixotic quest for that century of centuries meaningless to him, or is the pressure more real than we imagine? What does he intend to do in retirement? There are a multitude of areas I would have loved for him to expand upon. And for a player who has been afforded nothing but the utmost respect and support by Australian crowds through the years, I reckon all cricket fans in this country were deserving of at least a few answers in return from Sachin. But what have we received? A stony silence.

Not even the glibbest of post-match “we were beaten by a better team on the day” comments. Why? Even when dismissed he – admirably, I will admit – maintains a kind of grim-faced composure.

And now, he has departed these shores for probably the final time as a player. We admirers are left with only the on-field memories of the little master; no insights whatsoever into his inner workings. I could not help musing what the response of the Indian media and public would be to, say, a Ricky Ponting going through an entire tour of the sub-continent in a similar silence? The Indian team appear to have forgotten just where it is from that their riches are ultimately derived: the public. 

Sachin, we acknowledge your greatness. We respect and admire you. But, sadly, you did not give us a chance to know you. 

 

 

 

     

 

 

  

About Darren Dawson

Always North.

Comments

  1. Darren

    Fair points all round. I think that the Indian attitude was poor from the very start, and only got worse as they failed to perform. I appreciate completely the pressure the Indian nation places on Sachin, but over here where he can get out and about and can hold press conferences without it needed a stadium to hold the press, I would argue he let himself and his legacy down by not engaging.

    If you look at most of the comments on the ESPN Ciicinfo website after yet another Indian loss, there’s still a tremendous amount of leeway paid to him, and people who will say that he can bat as long as he likes and failures are tolerated. This made up 100 100s is a media invention that I believe started to weigh on him.

    In reality, I don’t think any Indian selector is prepared to be the one that drops him, and so he will play as long as he likes. Maybe he has earned that right, and all will be forgive when India does well at home on flat pitches.

    But there’s no doubt that considering how he is admired and resptectd by Australian fans, and that the Indians I met at the cricket or at a MCG tour per Christmas idolise him, he could have given more that the pittance he did.

    Sean

  2. pamela sherpa says:

    I don’t see why Sachin should be obliged to talk. I think no less of him as a cricketer for being the shy, silent type. In fact I find his attitude endearing.

  3. Mark Doyle says:

    I agree wholeheartedly with Pamela Sherpa’s comment about Sachin Tendulka. Most of the Australian media and public are obsessed with celebrity gossip and have very little interest in the sporting skills of sportspeople such as Tendulka.The Australian media and public are besotted with trivial and celebrity nonsense – most of these people are intellectual morons and cultural philistines.
    The reason that Sachin Tendulka and the Indian Cricket Team did not perform well in the recent Australian summer was a poor preparation, which was two mickey mouse games in Australia’s cultural wasteland capital Canberra. A better preparation would have been to play two or three first games in places such as Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.

  4. Hear, Hear, Pamela! If he’s got nothing to say, let him say nothing.
    I am happy to watch him play cricket rather than be asked ad nauseum as to when he is going to break the “magical” 100 100s or why India are not performing to expectations (whose?). We’d only get the type of trite responses that are consistent with all sporting post match “interviews”.

  5. He’s a cricketer. How needy can you get…?

  6. Thanks for all the comments.

    Pamela: Sure, Tendulkar was under no obligation to speak publicly…so he didn’t! But surely these very highly-paid sportsmen have some moral obligation to engage with the public in the name of promoting a game which has provided them with so many riches.

    Mark: I am not interested in celebrity gossip, and could not give two hoots about Sachin’s private life. As mentioned in my piece, I was more talking about learning a little of Tendulkar’s thoughts on the game of cricket. I agree wholeheartedly with your comments regarding the Indians’ preparation. The same thing happened on the previous tour of Australia, and the tour of England in 2011, and the BCCI still has not learnt from the folly of inadequate preparation.

    Dave: I have been called many things in my time (many not fit for re-printing here!), but that is the first time I have ever been called “needy”.

    Let me say in closing that I found S K Warne’s inter-over commentary during the BBL to be fascinating, and there was nary a mention of E Hurley.

  7. pamela sherpa says:

    Sachin promotes the game simply by playing, without the need to speak.No words are needed -that’s the point I was trying to make Smokie. Sachin has the right (and the brains ) in my opinion, to remain silent.
    I think he actually has plenty to say, if you watch him closely, about things that matter, for example in on field situations and when in practise sessions. His quiet diplomacy is worth more to the team and cricket in general than all the bluff and bluster that we hear about off the field. Promoters would do well to learn a thing or two from his quiet approach.

  8. Mark Doyle says:

    Smokie, I think you might find that some of Sachin Tendulka’s private life is more interesting that his public cricket life, especially his charitable work for disadvantaged people in India which is managed by his mother-in-law. I also believe that Tendulka does not have any obligation to speak to the media about cricket, especially as most cricket journalists are only interested in asking loaded questions designed to get a cheap headline. I cannot remember Tendulka ever having a regular media gig or writing some mickey mouse diary or book. I also think that the public and the media do not respect Tendulka’s privacy. The hero worship in India is ridiculous as is the celebrity culture in Australia.
    Tendulka has had a great cricket career over 20 odd years and his achievements are exceptional. He is a true champion of cricket as are blokes such as Bradman, Richards, Lara, Warne and Muralitharan.

  9. Luke Reynolds says:

    Well said Smokie. The Indian team that toured in 2011/12 didn’t make many friends with their attitude. But would Tendulkar have been the player he was if he was more expansive publicly? The adulation and expectation from over a billion Indians would have been hard to cope with. Maybe we will hear more in retirement.

Leave a Comment

*