He stands as the perfect contradiction to the statement "Greatness is an exaggeration".
(This short piece is just a mention of a few aspects that add glory to one of the finest batsmen cricket has ever produced)
Let me begin by telling you this :
Indian audience indulges itself in hero-worship. That's a fact. You can see it everywhere. But we are ruthless too. When it comes to being worshiped, you have to keep winning hearts, keep restoring the faith, and the pride. There have been many whom I don't want to name, who appeared to be climbing those stairs, only to find that the junta has lost faith in them. You drop from a superstar to just a star who was once close to being idolized. To be in such a country and in such a state for about twenty years is, simply, superb. (Don't hold it against me when I miss some statistics. My piece doesn't deal much with it)
Sachin is someone who deserves such a worship. He has stood against generations of bowlers. Generations of those who analyze his every match, his every move, his every mistake and then come up with a strategy to constrain him. In spite of that, to come up to bat to the satisfaction of over a billion hearts, and to surpass the expectations each time, is nothing short of amazement. May be to come up to bat can be termed as a mandate. To play is what he is expected to do. But the difference is not in the decision to play. It lies in the way he responds to such expectations. He has to thwart the tricks of each and every bowler and their captain. His every analyzed weakness must be controlled, and not merely controlled, it should shock the opponent. It is not a case of "should" but it just has been. His weaknesses to some of the offside deliveries had to be worked upon to result in a boundary. Its not ordinary and its not common to outplay the cunning opponent.
Rarely do you see a player who is watched by so many. And mind it, success brings its own share of rivalry and jealousy. Every Henry Olonga, Andy Caddick or whatever their names are, come to the scene of international cricket stating that they would be the ones to send him to the pavilion, only to find that it was their deliveries that went there, faster than the time spent in running to deliver them. It is so common. They are flawed not in their bowling techniques, they bowl some good balls. But in assuming that they have the master all sorted out, that is foolishness. There's really a great difference between confidence and over-confidence. We hear too many dialogues about this in the movies. But its true. The master copes with his weaknesses, with the so many heads that try to out-think and out-wit him. That he has been successful in doing this is not just evident from his successes, but from the knowledge that the faith of those billions is only growing. Here is a man who is standing against all, constantly foiling their plans.
Here's a thing. Ricky Ponting is currently the man who is atleast in the vicinity of looking at the records that Sachin makes, albeit miles, or rather, hundreds of miles, away from them. But Ricky enjoys a rare advantage that Sachin does not. He isn't under so much of analysis. He needn't carry an onus of expectations. Sachin has to, every single time. While stating facts, it is important to add that Australians have been those who analyze their opponents to the highest degree. Its quite evident. The amount of tricks they come up with almost sometimes makes the game more of a kind of chess rather than cricket, but all's legal. Now, would Ricky have lasted so long had he not been an Australian? Would he have been able to deal with his weaknesses, some of them propping up as he gets older, if he were under the scrutiny of the Australians ? I guess not. Yes its true that he has come up well against his weaknesses to spin. But you see, his opponents are not as cunning as hist team were. Now don't get me wrong here. It's perfectly alright that they plan the demise of the opposition. Its essential. But I would only want to point out that Ricky just isn't subjected to the enourmously tiresome, gruesome tests that Sachin went through. That's a very big advantage, if you know what I am talking about.
Now there comes a talk about India not winning matches when Sachin scores. It would have been probably okay for a boy to state that the word "psychology" is spelt without the silent letter 'p'. We could have at least patted the boy who answered that a better-luck-next-time. It's just lack of knowledge, but not here. The comparison isn't apt. But that exactly is the point I'd like to make. It isn't appropriate to state that its bad omen for India when Sachin scores. Tell you what, if Luck had ever to choose an adversary to work against, it would mention that the name Sachin would be in the last ones in its list. This may be exaggeration. But we all need luck. Not just to play well. But luck to evade bad luck from coming up. Last time I heard was that Liverpool lost their match against Sunderland this season because a beach ball showed up just in between the ball and the goalkeeper, the result of which was a deflected goal to take up 3 vital points away from Liverpool, or rather 2 vital points. This is the sort of bad luck that you don't want to happen. Here in comes the importance of good luck. To stop keeping the bad luck from popping its head up.
There may be a certain amount of take-it-for-granted in the Indian team because even though the master has amassed half the 350 single handedly, the rest of the ten couldn't contribute enough. It's a shame(read pity). For someone who has fought so well, this is the sort of anticlimax that is least appropriate. Our team surely owes an apology to him. But he will still play. And will still outclass the opponents. And it wouldn't be much news when he does that, because that is what is expected. And he will still keep raising the bar.
This is one who stands out to let us know that greatness is not an exaggeration, but a virtue, which, though seemingly impossible, is actually possible.
Just to let you know, there was one guy who was holding a poster the other day during the 5th ODI between India and Australia. It was comparing the gold rates per carat to the number of runs Sachin has made and he usually surpassed the rates. That was an awesome idea of his to show that statistic up. :)