He played his 200th Test in Mumbai after which he retired from cricket. When he started his career in 1989 he was just 16 years old, if I’m not mistaken and after 24 years he is retiring. Undoubtedly it is one of the most remarkable cricket careers of any cricketer in the world. Of course comparisons to Don Bradman etc. are not entirely correct. For one thing in those days there was only Test cricket. And the total number of matches that Don Bradman played was 52, 80 innings and there were 10 not outs. Out of 80 innings his total was 6996 runs. He was 4 runs short of making an average of 100 which he could not do because he was out for a 0 – a duck — in the last match. And a Test career average of 100 is never going to happen again in our life time, but in many other ways Sachin Tendulkar was like Donald Bradman. He was a sheet-anchor of the team; whenever the team was in trouble he would go out in the middle and the team would feel safe and would retrieve its fortune. Sachin Tendulkar also went to Australia to meet Don Bradman and Don Bradman was very happy to meet him and sometime ago Sachin himself told the press that I feel that it is like Arjun meeting Dronacharya. That was a very apt description because Don Bradman was an eternal guru to everyone. Sachin Tendulkar’s career has been marked by ups and downs, like any long career would — across playing cricket for 25-26 years. You can’t score well in every innings, in every match, in every country, in every series but still there is a remarkable consistency in his career. Another remarkable thing about him is he played much better when he was not captain rather than when he was captain, giving rise to the theory that maybe as a captain he felt burdened and this told upon his playing ability. All in all it has to be agreed that he is one of the biggest cricketer’s India has ever produced. In early days the Test matches were skewed like C. K. Nayadu, he hardly played — the number of matches were very few though he still holds the world record for a lot of things. Records cannot be compared anymore because the sheer number of matches is so much, you can’t compare it with the golden days. Neither the style of playing because nowadays things have become too technical — you’ve got a Third umpire, you’ve got that hawk’s eye etc. Cricket is not the same cricket as what it was when it started in England and came to India. Now cricket is a technological marvel, even for practice and academies there are a lot of machines which throw balls of different types so that the batsmen can get better practice but all this has happened only in the last 10-20 years. Tendulkar has been playing even before these gadgets came and undoubtedly he has mastered every technique and every new technology that came. He’s been able to master it and show results taking advantage of that. That is his biggest marvel — he’s never become out of date, he’s always tried to keep up with the times, keep up with new rules put up by the ICC, Third umpire etc. Many times he’s not liked the decisions. Many times things have not gone his way. He’s always taken it as a sport. He was not one to ever create a scene or create trouble with the umpire or with the management. That is the biggest credit that goes to him. Normally players who’re working so much develop an ego and that ego spoils their whole demeanour and attitude and that did not happen with Sachin and therefore one must give credit to him that he maintained his level head throughout. We can all wish him all the best.
Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi, Leaders and Politicians
Debate Levels Must Be Improved
A national debate has started on the elections with Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi, the two putative Prime Ministerial candidates, and the unfortunate part is that though the media and generally everybody has made two Prime Ministerial candidates, they’ve started debating; the debate is not on issues, it’s all personal name calling, pulling each other’s leg. The level of the discourse has gone down considerably. The country deserves better. If there are two clear leaders who are debating they should debate issues, the challenger should say what his Government is going to do in ten years and what he would do if he gets a chance on Pakistan, on China, on Maoist threat within India, on poverty, on unemployment, on inflation. None of these issues have been addressed by the challenger. Only thing he said- we’ll use the Army to teach Pakistan a lesson this is not what a politician should say. If the Army and the police could solve a country’s problems then we don’t need elections, we don’t need politicians, we don’t need a Prime Minister. In fact he is negating his own position. The neighbouring countries should teach us enough if we will over-depend on the Army, then one day they will take over. They know they are only ruling through their clout and generals themselves won’t rule. Therefore it is a most dangerous thing to even talk of using the Army. In fact the Prime Ministerial candidate should say that if I become the Prime Minister I’ll improve my relations with Pakistan so much that the Army will not be put under stress as this Government is doing in Kashmir and the LOC. This is because of the ineptitude of the Government by not opening a proper dialogue and discussions with Pakistan. Instead of saying that, he’s threatening Pakistan and threatening to use the Army obviously he’s ruling himself out as a statesman. Politician he is, a politician contesting elections. A statesman that he is not – a statesman will take a longer view or broader view. The other candidate he’s too immature and too small to be called a statesman. His great grandfather was a statesman. His grandmother was also a very accomplished Prime Minister. His father got a term of only five years after which he was unfortunately assassinated. He has been in politics I think now for 8-10 years, but unfortunately he’s said nothing that can inspire confidence that he can lead the country into the next generation. I hope better sense prevails with the speech writers of both the candidates and their respective parties and their high commands give them better advice to improve the level of the debate. We still have about 6 months to go in which a lot can be discussed in public with principles, proper debating so the public can evaluate.