Friday, March 16, 2012

100-100-100 | An enigma!

I actually wanted to write this inspite of his pending 100th 100, but now it has better context. Actually, with how much I wanted India to win the World Cup just for Sachin and how excited I got today asking people I met if they heard the news, I realized how much my heart goes out to him even without me being aware of it!

He is an enigma. Why? Over the years, he has polarized groups of people - ardent supporters and naysayers - though the former outweigh the latter in numbers. Strangely, the arguments put forth by both groups have merits.
On the one side - you have sheer profilicity [743 innings - OMG], incredible consistency, great strike rate, colossal statistics [just about anything you can put together that defines a shining performance] - and to cap this all, you have outstanding class, style, temperament and adaptability. To sustain this for 20+ years - please take a bow!

On the other hand, we have a few people who are maintained as all time greats (Richards, Lara, Steve Waugh et al). While none of them come close to Sachin in terms of volume and statistical measure, they have scaled larger peaks more consistently. This is the naysayers' main argument. I think it has merit. It is as if there is an upper boundary fixed which he hasn't been able to scale. Say for example, no test triple century to date. The biggest will have to be the fact that he buckles under pressure - well not the pressure of a billion strong nation on his consistency, but in-the-moment crunch pressure from a match. Innings like the "desert storm" match against Australia or the double century one-day performance. These have been rare.

These two groups are like apples and oranges. They can't really be compared and they can't really be ignored. So we will have to make do with Sachin being an enigma!

I think with his career, contributions and the latest milestone, he has earned the right to stay with the team for as long as he chooses. Though the bar will keep going up with every match. I only wish he makes his exit thinking through what exactly he wishes to contribute more. It will be a very shameful thing if he is dropped.

But he is proof of what can be done with sustained passion and dedication. He will remain a peerless example! Please take a bow. I think this record will stay for a 100 years in cricket history. No one in the current crop can emulate this. Some one new has to come and match everything he has done so far and more for a decade or more.

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