Sachin Tendulkar is no stranger to tests. However, the test that he has to face now is of a different ilk and nowhere related to cricket Tests that he is a master at. He has been nominated for the Rajya Sabha. This is a new turf for him. But, as Sachin himself says, he is used to looking for opportunities in challenges. So, what was it that led Sachin to the Upper House of the Parliament? What was it that led the government to choose him? Was the decision correct?
Does expertise in a sport qualify one for Parliament? So it seems. The logic is to nominate experts from various fields to add variety and richness to the decision making process in the Rajya Sabha. Even if one were to go by this logic, what about other sports like hockey or kho-kho or shooting and the like? There must be and there are experts in many other sports. Why this special treatment to cricket? Is it because this sport brings in money and fame for the country? Having said this, it would only be fair to add that just because somebody from another sport was not selected does not mean that someone from cricket cannot be.
If some cricketer had to be selected then why Sachin? For many, Sachin is the God of cricket and for them there can be no other option. It would be an unfruitful exercise to contest this logic but, it would be unfair to so many other cricketing legends who have also contributed immensely to the sport. Sachin is an active cricketer, who is playing for a major part of the year. Hence, if he had to be chosen then it should have been for a later date. Instead, some other retired cricketing legend could have been chosen for now to make his contribution to the world of sports in India. Rajya Sabha nomination is a full-time job, contrary to what it has been made out to be by so many so-called subject matter experts who have visited the Upper House rarely after being nominated. Here again, just because many of Sachin’s predecessors have not performed does not mean that he too should be painted with the same brush.
Many Indians have been pitching for Sachin for the Bharat Ratna. If the intention of the government was to honour Sachin by nominating him for the Rajya Sabha instead, then it could not have been more irrational. Rajya Sabha nomination is a position of responsibility. It should be reserved for somebody who has done some public service or for somebody who has made some scientific or academic contribution. Ironically, if such achievements in the past can be a qualification, their absence cannot be a disqualification either. Just because Sachin has not done any major public service in the past cannot be construed to mean that he would not do so in future.
Sachin Tendulkar has risen to every challenge. He has already spoken to the media to allay the fears of the public. However, the people have got immuned to such tall promises by now. For many this was just rhetoric. It would have been better for him to share his vision for the Rajya Sabha or maybe just for the state of sports in our country. That would have added weight to his promises. Nevertheless, it is still not too late. He has all the opportunities for him to prove his critics wrong, like he has done till now.
People have watched him for years with rapt attention and they will continue to do so. This time, perhaps, with even greater expectations and apprehensions. Success has come to Sachin because he has always matched every challenge with greater preparation. Hope Sachin’s best shots are yet to come. And, why not off the cricketing field this time round?
<i>(Shobhika Puri is a freelance writer)</i>