Some things never change. When Sachin arrived on the world scene and donned the India cap as a shy boy in 1989 against Pakistan in Karachi, the expectations of the people from him were enormous from day one. It has been a lifetime since then. Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar still carries the weight of expectations of the billion plus population of this country on his shoulders every time he goes out to bat. Add to that the increased media hype.
No wonder the frenzy and the excitement that has surrounded the impending hundredth 100 from the Little Master is expected. When Sachin got out at the score of 94 in the first innings of the third Test against West Indies, naturally it was met with disbelief and shock from the crowd at his home ground.
The reaction of the crowd was such that the bowler who took Tendulkar’s wicket Ravi Rampaul said later, “I got the feeling that I was the villain as soon as Sachin went. When I was back to the boundary, I got abused in a way but
that’s how cricket goes. I know I have let a lot of Sachin’s fans down and heartbroken.”
Nonetheless, the spectators at the Wankhede stadium recovered from it soon and gave an emotional send off to the man who has enthralled them for over two decades. A standing ovation to Sachin was probably the cricket lovers way of telling him – the 100 will come, sooner than later – you don’t need to prove anything to anybody anymore – we thank you for the happiness that your sublime batting has given us.
The people of this country want Sachin to reach the milestone as soon as he can because it is a summit that no one has ever climbed and everyone wants to experience the pride that comes with an Indian reaching that special place.
Sachin himself must be eager to reach the pinnacle as soon as possible for various reasons. He must ardent to do it for himself, for his family, his fans and for his country. Moreover once the number is out of the way he can go ahead and enjoy the cricket left in him. After all, he is human too.
Former India player Sanjay Manjrekar said during the course of the recent series, “Sachin should quickly get the monkey off his back.” To which former India captain Ravi Shastri replied on a lighter note, “The monkey has grown into a gorilla now.”
Sachin has now gone 16 innings including the one-dayers and Tests without scoring a century. This was the 10th time that the master blaster had got out in the 90s in Tests. The last time was when he fell for 91 at The Oval against England in August. He scored the 99th ton against South Africa during the World Cup on March 11, 2011. He has 48 tons in the ODIs and 51 in the longer version of the game.
Post Script: Scoring the hundredth 100 will not make Sachin a bigger legend than he is now. His genius and greatness has already been immortalised. The hundredth 100 will come. It is just a matter of time. So let us stop the frenzy that is build up every time that Tendulkar goes out to bat and just sit back and enjoy his game.
(The views expressed by the author are personal)