Friday, February 16, 2007

Sachin Tendulkar

Sachin Tendulkar - these 2 words lit up the lights in any young kid's eyes in the last decade, warmed many a cricket fans' hearts, swelled many Indian's chests with pride, draw admiration and appreciation from girls (conservative aunties included), brought more money into game, ensured hope in cricket lover's mind and heart after the match fixing saga, and converted a game into a religion.

The same 2 words, over last couple of years, have now failed to evoke much emotions except those of despair and helplessness, evoke sad dialogues like "don't know what wrong with him" and "will he show his magic this time at least?"

What has happened to the god? Has he become a mere mortal after 17 years of being a god? He has become more of an enigma, a puzzle which every cricket lover, commentrator, critic and just anybody around the corner has tried to solve, but has not been successful in doing so.

I am no exception and as others, have my own theory of 'probable causes'.

My theory says that cricket is, all said and done, a game played in the minds of those who play the game.

Over last 1 and 1/2 decade, Sachin Tendulkar grew in stature and bowler's eyes due to immense talent and commitment to the game and as he grew in stature, he became more and more confident in the way he took on bowlers all over the world. With his knocks, his mind told him that he is one of the greatest and this is what all bowler's minds told them as well. Everyone thought he was special and so did he. With a strong mind fuelling this immense talent, there was little the bowlers all over the world could do. And he kept on batting, breaking and smashing all the records that came his way. He believed in himself - this was the key to his success.

Failures were there, but were rare and brushed away by him with disdain they were by others.

During this period, he was vulnerable to physical gruel and injuries as were the others . Only his injuries kept on eating more headlines and made a nation's heartbeat skip.

But with time, somewhere, there was a dent in the great cricketing mind of Sachin - a dent which burst the bubble of his confidence - a dent which also was lapped up by media who in turn increased the dent - by blowing every small inch out of proportion - there were other experts who added to this by saying that he is no longer 17 years old and that his body is not so young anymore and that he cannot play like Sachin of yesterday and that he will be mentor of the team now - all of this actually punctured Sachin's confidence and he actually started believing in what the experts said about much so that he actually started echoing their words in his interviews...he started playing cautiously against bowlers which was never his style.

He had started to believe that he could fail. he believed that Sachin Tendulkar can fail now.
He justified it to his own mind. heart and close people around him that he is no longer the Sachin of yesterday - he is no longer the master blaster.

And this is what made a mortal out of a god.

As the adage goes: Whatever goes up, must come down.

Sad, but true.

However, the human race survives and thrives on hope ... A hope - that one day, the fortunes will swing again.


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