I Hate Sachin

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An edited version of this story appears in ESPNcricinfo

1989. “Yaaru pethha puallayo! Punyam panna vairu!” my late granny remarked upon hearing about Sachin’s debut and subsequent exploits. She looked at her sons (my uncles) and said “Yenakkum vandhu porandhudhu paaru!” She was paying a glowing tribute to Sachin Tendulkar’s mom and lamenting over her sons and their inability to get a job in the ‘Gulf’. My mom too lamented over the quality of her issues, through the years, as Sachin went on and on.

For a generation that believed success in life was directly linked to an engineering college berth (or a med school berth), Sachin was an anti-thesis. And by following his exploits, a generation of us continue to live our dreams by proxy. I hated Sachin for it.

One foggy, February morning in 1992, in Chittoor, Arun came running to my home and threw The Hindu at me. “Read the Sports page,” he said. The headline read “Tendulkar’s Brilliance Illuminates Perth” (if my memory serves me right). We lost that match by a massive margin of 300 runs. But that innings, one of the greatest that I have ever seen, was some sort of a magical preamble. In 1998, when he destroyed Australia at Sharjah, single-handedly, we realised that he was not just a great batsman. We had had quite a few of them by then, including Sunny Gavaskar… I had never seen an Indian batsman be so eloquent, so aggressive at once. Until then I had never seen an Indian batsman treat the Aussies the way Aussies treated everyone else. It was almost like Sachin was telling them, “Those days, are over.”

However, it is not his achievements and successes that I want to stress upon. It is how he is reborn after each one of his failures. Sydney, 2004 he didn’t drive on the offside. How can a man be so maniacally focused? I hated him for that. I could never achieve 2% of that focus.

Every time I became lazy, tempted to choose an easy way out, or just plain give up, it is people like Sachin that scream at you – from those special corners in your head, through memories etched for life- to not give up. I hated Sachin for that. For making me work harder that I wanted to.

This afternoon, my 3 year old little girl paused pedaling her tri-cycle, glanced at the TV, and said “Sachin!” I was shocked. I probably had mentioned him when I was pleading with her to switch to Cricket, from Chota Bheem.
From my granny to my daughter, four generations love him. How can a man redefine longevity like that? I hate him for that!

I watched him in the recent past. I suffered as he failed with the bat. ‘Maybe he should go now’ I screamed. ‘Why can’t he see? He is diluting his own greatness by suffering this!’ I wept. I knew I could be wrong. I was being emotional and stupid. And, he quits ODIs. The format that he made his very own. How could he? It will be, forever, poorer without him. I hate him for that.

An edited version of this story appears in ESPNcricinfo

2 Comments

  1. That’s why the selectors exist. It’s called dropping on form. If an algorithm picked a XI, heck even XVI, he wouldn’t make it. He may retire or play for Mumbai and knock on the doors again.

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