Sachin Tendulkar, MP - a mistimed drive?

Updated: Jun 04, 2012, 17:02 PM IST

Feroz Khan

The next time Sachin Tendulkar steps out on the cricket field, he would have among many other honours and achievements to his name, the added prefix of an MP by virtue of him being a member of the Upper House - Rajya Sabha.

The diminutive master took oath as an MP in the office of Rajya Sabha Chairman Dr. Hamid Ansari on Monday, over a month after his nomination.

A legend on the field, he will have to shoulder new responsibility to further the cause of contributing something towards the betterment of the country. His 100 centuries have brought much joy and ecstasy to the cricket aficionados not just in his country of birth but to each and every individual who has even a whiff of what it takes to surge ahead in the battle of willow and cherry. Now it is time he does the same in the political front as well.

From the day of his nomination till the moment he was sworn in as a Member of Parliament, the question over the timing of this decision has drawn its share of support and criticism. Tendulkar is at a point in his career where he is not far away from walking into cricketing sunset. Not that it is happening any time soon but the fact is that it is on the horizon. He has cut down on his international appearances by skipping few One day International series so as to preserve his body for Tests or major tourneys. Clearly, it is a major sign of the inevitable.

However, before that happens, he will continue playing cricket, domestic or international level.

The question arises - how is he going to juggle between the two roles— cricketer and MP— without compromising his focus on either? From his busy cricket schedule, will he be able to dedicate enough quality time by attending Parliament when it is in session?

Nobody is questioning his decision accepting what he terms as an “honour bestowed” upon him that shows people “have faith in him”.

What rankles here is what could have been the rush in making and accepting the offer? He could have become an MP even after playing his last innings. It seems more logical since the job of an MP is to attend the proceedings of Parliament, and after retirement he would have all the time in the world to discharge this responsibility. If he is out there to make a difference, it won’t happen in a day or two. It requires time, and time is what will be in short supply till he continues to play international cricket. And don’t expect him to reconsider his priorities. He has made it loud and clear that for now, the focus will be firmly on his cricket career and as a parliamentarian we would see him donning the mantle only when he has ‘time’.

Nobody is in a better position than Sachin himself to asses this predicament. Skipping session is understandable when playing for the national team but it will be interesting to see whether he skips parliament, say for Indian Premier League or vice versa?

This is not to point fingers over his intent, but just a question about whether this is the right time for Tendulkar to turn his attention to politics. Flaying bowlers is one thing but voicing your opinion that is heard and acted upon for the common good of people is quite a different task from devising cricket strategy.