Nobody on the planet can deny the role played by batting legend Sachin Tendulkar in shaping Indian cricket during the last two decades with his astonishing achievements. He is one of the few role models in Indian society who, with the bat in his hands, has charmed a nation even in the face of adversity.
He made people forget their agony, the day-to-day struggles, and problems of caste, creed and religion. When he bats, he unites India, irrespective of different political view-points. It can be safely said that he has been the most uniting factor in a diverse society like ours.
Sachin’s contribution to the game and towards nation building has been gigantic to say the least. So much has been written about him, it’s really a Herculean task for any cricket writer to pen down something new about the man who is known for his impeccable public image. It may sound clichéd but there is no denying the fact that he is the almighty in a country where cricket is a religion. You will rarely find people who dare to criticise the ‘God’.
Sachin has crossed 35 years of age and his body has been taking the toll of international cricket for many years. Thus, there is nothing wrong if he sometimes takes a break from the hard-fought international cricket. We have seen several times in recent years that he made himself unavailable for some ODI tournaments.
The Little Master even decided to take voluntary retirement from international Twenty20 cricket. In all the decisions, he has found the entire country rallying behind him. As a cricket writer I too supported the man who has done the country proud on numerous occasions. I knew that all the decisions he has taken were for the interest of the country as it would prolong his international career, which ultimately would help India.
But, I find it somehow peculiar that the same man, who needs rest to prolong his international career, plays tournaments like the Indian Premier League and Champions League Twenty20 for Mumbai Indians, hardly skipping a single match. It’s really surprising that the tournaments, which don’t even have ICC’s complete backing, are being played by Sachin when he should reserve his energy to play for the country. I really feel that the Master Blaster is doing no good to the interest of the country by playing in such tournaments, which will ultimately shorten his international career.
Sachin’s decision also sets a very bad example in front of the young generation who put money ahead of the love of playing for the country. You can’t blame Rohit Sharmas and Virat Kohlis if they take their respective IPL franchisees more seriously and remain nonchalant about the pride of the country.
Being a die-hard fan of Sachin, it pains me when he skips playing for India but at the same time takes part in the cash-rich tournaments like IPL and CL T20. It pains me even more when I find that nobody questions Sachin’s decision of putting an IPL franchise ahead of the country.
I know that this piece may provoke an angry reaction from Sachin’s fans, but what I have mentioned is worthy of pondering over.