Records to Tendulkar are mere numbers (Tribute)October 17th, 2008 - 8:25 pm ICT by IANS
Even as fireworks rent the Mohali air to celebrate his accomplishment, Sachin Tendulkar piously looked into the sky, thanked the Almighty and his late father. Though he had surpassed Brian Charles Lara’s record Test aggregate of 11953 runs, his emotions, as always, were under control. He had a more important mission on hand: to bat India into a commanding position from where they could strategise to decimate Australia in the second Test.He may have taken 21 Tests more to better the cavalier Trinidadian’s record, but it certainly wouldn’t hurt the master batsman as records to him are mere numbers. “If it comes along the way, I will cherish it. But to me records are a number game. Winning matches for India is more important,” the ebullient Mumbaikar had said recently.
He could well have reached the landmark in the first Test at Bangalore. He was in great nick. He could have batted on and on. But his focus was on saving the Test. In a rare moment of lapse in concentration, when he persistently pressed the umpires for bad light, he offered his scalp on a platter to debutant leg-spinner Cameron White. He was distraught at letting his side down (though India salvaged a draw) as he trudged his way back to the pavilion.
Statistics aside, there can never be an iota of doubt that Tendulkar is the world’s premier batsman. When the legendary Don Bradman has acknowledged him as the best he has seen, nobody, not even Steve Waugh or Ricky Ponting, more so the Doubting Thomases in the media, should question his greatness.
Let’s put his career in perspective. For 19 years he has enthralled us with his melodious batting. His body has endured the punishment of turning out day in and out in Indian colours. He has sacrificed a lot in life to achieve what no batsman ever has: highest run getter in both forms of the game, most number of hundreds in Test and ODIs, played more matches than anyone else in the history of the game…the list could go on.
People may write odes about his skill, commitment, temperament, cricketing greatness and achievements. But the most significant aspect of his illustrious career has been his humility. For someone who has achieved so much with authority and flair, he comes out as a modest man, one committed entirely to the cause of Indian cricket and the team.
Isn’t it astonishing that his has been a blemish less international career. Perhaps, the only time a Match Referee (Mike Dennes) questioned his conduct on the field was in a Test match at Port Elizabeth in 2001. But the ICC was soon to clear his name for ball tampering.
Ask any player if he has rubbed them wrong. Ask any umpire if he has transgressed the game’s code of conduct. Ask any administrator if he has tread over their toe. They will have nothing against him. So pristine has his character been.
Only a week ago, he was being belittled for underperforming in Sri Lanka, where he aggregated a niggardly 95 runs from three Tests. His run-scoring ability was under the media scanner. His fitness was questioned. He was virtually written off.
Today, he is the toast of the nation. Make no mistake, he is one player who doesn’t get affected by all that is said and written. What matters to him is making runs and making it count in an Indian win.
So let’s desist from writing off a genius who has so often brought light into our homes with magnificent hundreds. Let’s learn to respect him. For, whatever the critics may harp, he is set to serve Indian cricket well for another two years, unless injury lays him low. Let’s pray that he appends another 2000 runs to his Test kitty.
(Joseph Hoover is a senior editor with the Deccan Chronicle. He can be contacted at