“This little prick’s gonna get more runs than you, AB” said Merv Hughes to Allan Border. This happened when Border was only few runs short of 10,000 and sachin was in his teens. You can dissect this statement in two different ways.
1) Merv Hughes is an extraordinary visionary
2) The genius of Sachin was very evident.
I believe in the latter.
If a teenage kid, can provoke the most feared and arrogant bowler of Australia to say this, then the kid obviously is not just a prodigy. What prompted Hughes to do a Nostradamus is not the stats of sachin, (as sachin has not achieved anything significant in that series) but the genius of sachin who reveled in a plane that was not accessed by other ordinary (even good) sportsmen. When wickets around him fell like 9 pins, he scored a ton at Perth at its best and against a feared attack. Standing on his toes and driving the ball past square with ease.
So let us use the word Genius to represent Sachin, as I returned empty handed after searching a thesaurus for a suitable adjective for this greatest sportsman ever. Not everyone can understand a genius, even those who understands it cannot be able appreciate it will enough. For Ordinary people to understand a genius, they need the aid of numbers. Stats just serve those numbers to ordinary people to try to understand a genius. Numbers don’t matter for great sporting men, like Bradman, Warne, Mc Grath, riche benaud, Richards, lara and co. The statements like “Sachin is a genius, I m a mere mortal” by Lara and “I have seen God and he bats at number 4 for India” by Hayden stands as a testimony to this.
These people never went through the cricinfo stats or the icc ranking to come to such a conclusion. They said those things, because they had the first hand experience of witnessing a true genius in action from close quarters. Genius can never be evaluated in terms of runs scored (even if it is evaluated in terms of runs scored Sachin is miles ahead of the rest). There were times when he won matches for India single handedly playing against 20 odd men (11 from the opposition and the rest are agents of bookies who play in his own team). That is genius.
The ultimate testament of a bookie who said “Matches cannot be fixed until sachin gets out”, only a genius beyond compare can do this. You don’t expect a shoiab akthar to clap hands when a batsman hit him for a boundary, only a genius can provoke such an arrogant person to make a gesture of that kind. Australian crowds are very Hostlie, Harbajan knows it better than anyone. To get a standing ovation every time he walks in and gets out is something beyond comparison. Only a genius can mesmerize such crowds.
For Agassi, Sampras walked on water, and for Shane “Sachin created nightmares”. For anyone it hurts their ego when they fail out miserably to an opponent, it will be worse for a world class performer. If sachin has created nightmares for the world’s best spinner of all time, then do you needs stats to quantify is genius? This goes on and on and on
Not just with his batting, how often have we seen him completely foxing a batsman with his off spins, leg breaks, googlys, inswingers and outswingers. How many bowlers can do that at international level? He has won MOMs for his bowling alone. The last ball of the day and moin khan batting, and he is completely foxed by a googly.
How often in his career have we seen him cramping up and yet not taking a runner? He says “I decide on the run even before I hit the ball, and only I know how hardly or softly have I hit it. It takes a runner two seconds more to decide on whether to run or not.” You call that as genius, when people want a runner after getting in to 90s to maximize their personal record here is a guy who don’t want a runner even if he is severely cramping.
“One point in which many otherwise excellent cricketers fail is in the matter of judging runs,” wrote Ranjitsinjhi. Sachin too has be run out on a few occasions, most probably because of his partner in the form of azhar, kambli, jadeja and laxman and sometimes because of exceptional fielding effort. His genius in judging single is incomparable, and mostly unnoticed. In a match against West Indies, he hit a ball straight to chanderpaul and ran two without even thinking, chanderpaul took the ball and threw it underarms as he has problems in throwing the ball. Such is his mind, there lies the genius.
We all know about Harsha Bogle’s narration of the dressing room incident of world cup 2003, only a genius can think like that. Normal sportsmen will be controlled by the match environment, whereas a genius will control the match environment. Be it the sandstorm knock, the Rawalpindi knock, the Ahmadabad knock, the Chennai test match knock, or the 96 world cup semi finals, or the 96 worldcup match against Australia there are numerous other incidents, the latest being the 175. From improbable position he will take India towards victory single handedly. Once he gets out, the whole team plays with unmatched team spirit and work together in handing over the victory to the opposition.
Amir khan told his experience of watching the IPL matches sitting next to sachin, and how every time sachin predicted what the next ball is going to be (a bouncer, or good length or a Yorker). No mortal can do this, it takes more than a genius to figure out what the bowler is thinking every time when he runs in.
It takes more than a sane mind to completely understand the greatness of this little man. If I cannot stand mediocrity, then imagine how much of agony sachin would have went through by playing with 10 other jokers (though things have changed now, he now plays with 10 other high fashioned dudes instead of jokers). The pressure of one billion souls pleading him to perform everytime is insignificant in front of the mental agony that he is going through every time when all his good work is spoiled by mediocre stupids.
Then again he has learnt to live with it, and I have learned to just enjoy Sachin. What is unacceptable though is the way Indians react to his performances. They just take it for granted, just imagine a situation. If dhoni had played an innings similar to the 163 of sachin against kiwis, then that innings will be spoken about for years. Till date Dravid’s Adelaide, Lakshman’s Kolkatta, and ganguly’s Brisbane knock is spoken about, but nothing of that is spoken about sachin, as we take him for granted. His perth knock, his 169 against south Africa, his Bloemfontein 155, his Sydney 241, his Chennai 100, his Chennai 155, his first century to save the match and almost 50 percent of his one day knocks. The problem with people is when they get things in abundance; they tend to ignore the value of it. Just compare the three 100s that he scored this year, all with a different approach, can you name one innings of others which is as complete as these three? And this is just this year. Think about his 42 other centuries!!
If I was forced to choose between India winning the match by poor batting display and India losing but sachin scoring a classy century, I would opt for the latter. I am happy if India wins, and will feel bad if India loses. But “A thing of beauty is a joy forever”, whenever I feel down and out, I go to youtube and watch some of the best innings of sachin (there is no shortage for this stuff) I can recharge my batteries and go on. I get an Orgasmic pleasure when I see sachin driving the ball through the covers, there is no better sight in the world. It is the same with many, and there is nothing to be ashamed of this. I am no less patriotic than others. Winning and losing is irrelevant in a sport, it is the way the game is played that matters.
Sachin’s 175 did not make any difference to the result of the match. Had he got out for zero the result would have been the same. What his innings has added to this match is, this match will be right in the top 5 best odis ever. Instead of being one of the thousands of one sided contests, this match will be remembered as one of the best odis ever. In reality, that knock had made hell a lot of difference on larger picture than that one point added to australia’s icc ratings. When this format of the game is dying, only a genius can revive it, and rightly a genius revived the life of ODIs.
But even after saying all these, a person today cannot understand the significance of Bradman if not for the numbers. There is a saying that records are meant to be broken, but I feel the other way round. Some records are not meant to be broken, one such is the average of Bradman and another one is the odi exploits of sachin. It is ok if people don’t acknowledge his genius and go just by number, but the thing that irritates me is, they don’t even go by numbers and give some baseless assumptions as universal truth.
There are various accusations on sachin like:
1) He is not a match winner. (He has got 60 MOM awards, way above than his nearest rival and no contemporary cricketer is close to that).
2) People say that If he hits a century then India loses (In all he scored 32 centuries which resulted in india’s victory which is much more than the total number of centuries scored by his nearest rival)
3) People say he performs only in league matches and not in important matches or finals (He is the only batsman to hit 6 centuries in finals, and has the highest average in the finals (50 plus))
4) People say that he wins only those matches which don’t have any pressure, but fails to take India home on pressure situation (This is another crap, as until sachin is playing the match is safe and there is no pressure, no one can say that getting 19 runs from 18 balls with 4 wickets in hand and sachin is playing along with a recognized batsman as a pressure situation)
5) Some say that he is not a good finisher (I just want to understand what people mean by finisher, I just request these people to tell one name of an opener who can be called as a good finisher, leave alone openers even name a number three batsman who can be called as a finisher?)
6) He performs against weak oppositions only (just 5 short of 3000 runs against the all mightly Australians at an average of nearly 47)
7) There is no need to discuss about the centuries and other stuff at all. There is no competition at all.
It was when Ian Bell got a permanent slot in England’s batting order, the commentators were heaping praises on him for scoring 1800 international runs so quickly and are telling that this guy has grabbed a permanent place in the team. But people forget that Sachin has score more than 1800 boundaries. Even by recent form, he is way ahead of others, but we still see those sachin haters trying to find some reasons to blame him and asks for his sacking.