Is the series against West Indies a hastily hatched plan to enable Sachin Tendulkar play his 200th Test match at home?
Whatever be the underlying reasons, the overwhelming public verdict will surely point to that. Besides, this is a country where emotions rule the senses and most of opinions are peeled off from the top layer of headlines fed every day by a media for whom sense of responsibility is an overhead.The mantra of ‘individual over team’ is bound to be chanted in chorus resulting in a crescendo, drowning all the voices that speak of the man’s yeoman’s service to Indian cricket during the last two decades and more.
Would it not have been infinitely better if our endearing memories of the 200th Test had been a pitched battle against Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander in South Africa — a country where no other Indian batsman but the master has ever been successful? Did Sachin Tendulkar really need a helping hand to script his destiny?
Always on the cards
Looking at it from some angles, this was always on the cards.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has seldom managed to look beyond its coffer. Having suddenly stumbled across enormous financial clout due to the massive interest in cricket in the sub-continent, the BCCI has splashed around in the riches without quite developing the responsibility that comes with such almost autonomous power.
The Board’s policy has been simple and straightforward — to make lots of money. And they have excelled in doing that, grabbing the maximum number of eyeballs — their own vision focussed keenly on the bottom line rather than the game. They have demonstrated the trait Stanley Baldwin made memorable in his London speech in 1931, ‘power without responsibility — the prerogative of the harlot.’
To do this they have for long turned the game into a spectacle at every available opportunity. And on their way to becoming the most financially successful sporting body, they have long realised that Sachin Tendulkar is most lucrative cash cow in the cricketing world. And they have milked it to the limits with their grubby palms.
With the great man at the very end of his career, is it surprising that the final attempt will be made to squeeze the final drop?
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