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Don’t deify Sachin Tendulkar

Don’t deify Sachin Tendulkar
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Don’t Deify Sachin Tendulkar. It seems everything becomes controversial in India. I was shocked when I had seen this news that a case was filed...

Indians worship heroes. They even make them ‘Gods’. When Sachin Tendulkar was playing his last match, most of the spectators in the stadium were calling him ‘God’! The deification of mortals is an old habit of Indians. Though Sachin Tendulkar’s extraordinary achievements are unquestionable in the field of cricket, making him ‘God’ and awarding ‘Bharath Ratna’ in such a haste is not acceptable.

It seems everything becomes controversial in India. I was shocked when I had seen this news that a case was filed against the Prime Minister and Sachin Tendulkar on ‘Bharath Ratna’ award. After the fairy tale ending to Sachin’s career as an outstanding cricketer at Wankhade stadium, Mumbai on 17.11.2013, Indian Government immediately announced ‘Bharath Ratna’, nation’s highest civilian award to Sachin. Though millions of cricket lovers and ardent admirers of Sachin welcomed this decision, there were people who felt that it was done in a little haste. Sachin is only 40 and time is on his side.

They could have done it after the dust generated by the fabulous euphoria on the eve of Sachin’s retirement from the game he lived for all his life. Sachin did a super human effort on the 22 yard cricket pitch to make more than one billion Indians proud and ironically, he is now being accused by a petitioner in a court of law that he doesn’t deserve ‘Bharath Ratna’ as he has amassed wealth by playing cricket. But another great Indian icon, Dhyan Chand who was known as ‘Wizard of Hockey’ could not earn anything by playing hockey for many years (1920 to 1930). Dhyan Chand was instrumental in India winning eight Olympic gold medals successively. But compared to what today’s cricketers like Sachin and others earned what Dhyan Chand had earned were peanuts.

But things have changed; cricket has reached to unimaginable heights. Only sky seems to be its limit. It is a cricket crazy nation. Many intellectuals in our country think that the tremendous popularity of cricket had killed other games like football (once Indian football team had reached the semi final stage in Olympics), hockey (which was once considered as India’s national game) and basketball etc.

Why Indians love cricket so much? No other game is as glamorous to Indians as cricket. Though they call it a team, there is lot of scope for individuals to become heroes. Out of 11 players, three or four players become heroes if the team wins a five-day match or a one-day match. The player who hits a century becomes an instant star. The making of centuries is highly glorified by the media and the spectators identify themselves with the centurion and they feel as if they themselves are hitting those sixes and fours. Another reason for the popularity of cricket in India is we get a lot of leisure to watch the live telecast of those matches. When a Cricket match is being played, people are glued to their TV sets. All the offices, colleges, business places, hotels, clubs will be abuzz with cricket.

There is a misconception that cricket had become so popular only after the advent of TV channels. But even when TVs were not in our drawing rooms, we used to glue to our radio sets. The running commentary broadcast by radio was very popular. When India won the World Cup in 1983, the whole nation celebrated over the victory of Kapil’s Devils (as they were called by British media). No other game in India can give this sense of fulfillment and sense of unity to this great country.

Indians worship heroes. They even make them ‘Gods’. When Sachin Tendulkar was playing his last match, most of the spectators in the stadium were calling him ‘God’! The deification of mortals is an old habit of Indians. Though Sachin Tendulkar’s extraordinary achievements are unquestionable in the field of cricket, making him ‘God’ and awarding ‘Bharath Ratna’ in such a haste is not acceptable to one and all. However, my admiration for Sachin is not blemished for this reason.

Sachin’s memorable farewell speech on November 16, 2013 at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium has brought tears to millions of Indians. Sachin himself couldn’t control his emotions and was seen wiping his tears while coming back to pavilion after the fall of the last West Indian wicket. It is hard to control emotions for anyone who has seen the great man cry on the cricket field. His retirement has brought an end to a glorious era in international cricket. Sachin is the best ambassador of India the world over. He performed brilliantly over the years with impeccable grace and without an iota of controversy. The key to Sachin’s success lies in his foolproof technique. He is extremely good on the front foot and back foot as well. He can score runs both on off side and leg side. He cuts and pulls well which helps him while batting away from the sub continent. Opposite teams devised many strategies to unsettle Sachin but all of them failed because they couldn’t find a real weakness in his batting.

Sachin Tendulkar’s rise has coincided with the rise of great Indian middle class. They forgot their daily woes and sat in front of TV sets to watch their hero hitting fours and sixes to all parts of the ground. By seeing Sachin perform so well at the highest level internationally, Indians had started believing in themselves and felt that they too can compete internationally and succeed too. Sachin has brought respect to the field of sports in the country. The present day parents will not scold their children if they go out and play, secretly wishing that their kid will become a Sachin Tendulkar one day.

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