Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Friday, April 1, 2011
"I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail."
I’m 27 years old. As if you wouldn’t know that. I have watched 4 world cup finals (1 of them had India in it) and waited 16 years for this moment, a moment of reckoning.
Will the boys in blue (darn, both teams are in blue), the ones sponsored by Nike, and have their life like structures in every city in India (and every dream of Indians) mature to level-headed opportunists?
Quite recently, I read an article about successful sportsmen. The Jordans, Nadals and Bolts of sport (sadly, the writer had to remove Kournikova’s name from the list because she isn’t a sportsperson any more). The reason why they shot into fame, and remained there. The reason why Beckham would never be the greatest ever footballer. Perhaps Rooney too. Because when the moment went by, it wasn’t acknowledged.
Most fans agree on what is a big game and what is not. There comes a time during these big games when most fans smell the moment, the moment when the game is balanced on the finest of threads. I have seen Tendulkar occasionally sense the moment and pounce on it, imposing his greatness on the occasion. But I feel I’ve seen him not seize these moments more often. The dynamics of a 22-man cricket match may be entirely different from a 10-man basketball game, but watching Michael Jordan pull off ‘clutch’ moment after clutch moment – with championships at stake – with surreal consistency.
This is a qualitative argument – it’s difficult to pull out numbers for ‘big moments’ and impossible to compare these metrics across sports – but I think it’s pretty much the core of the criticism against Tendulkar.
While it’s impossible to question his gargantuan appetite for runs, the incredible longevity – has any sportsman spent more years of his life at the highest level in his sport (22) than he has not (16)?) – his phenomenal impact beyond the boundary, his equanimity in response to the stratospheric expectations and the überlegen dignity with which he’s carried himself, this clutch debate remains partially unresolved.
God, my request to you is simple. Tendulkar has been part of Indian teams that have approached the threshold, slipped miserably on it before eventually shedding the monkey off their back. So unfortunately every India slip-up has been a Tendulkar-could-have-taken-us-home moment. So I’ve figured out a way around it. Let Tendulkar be his normal self, make a century and leave it to you. You can give the responsibility to Dhoni, (he might not be the destructive force with the bat as in the past, but he’s the best man to lead the side) and he’ll pull a bunny out of the hut (only the both of us know that you’ve put it in there – I’ve realized that no one reads this blog anyways). As the match trudges to a close at the Wankhede tomorrow night, let the man who deserves it (the only one who deserves it) kiss the turf.
P.S: Read my blog once in a while, you'll love it :).
P.P.S: Dhoni did pull out a bunny against Pakistan. Bunny = Nehra. Didn't get it?