Friday, November 13, 2009

Why does Indian Middle Class adore Sachin Tendulkar?

By John Cheeran
Sachin Tendulkar, definitely, is a great batsman.
For any athlete to remain top of his craft for 20 years, takes enormous amounts of talent and effort. For 20 years Tendulkar has dominated international cricket, scored the most number of runs in Test cricket and one-dayers, scored the maximum number of centuries in both forms of the game.
And that, he has played all his cricket for India, a nation that has been starving for sporting glory since the times of Arjuna, makes Tendulkar's job tougher than the most.
I'm, certainly, impressed by the longevity of Tendulkar's cricket career. I'm all the more surprised that Tendulkar has kept himself motivated all through these years.
But the greatest thing about Tendulkar is not his ability to score runs. Tendulkar has not lost his moorings despite the wanton adulation that has come his way, some of which, quite unwarranted, I have felt.
Twenty years.
Why does India love Tendulkar?
Tendulkar has played the role of a middle class hero to perfection. A boy, who graduated to manhood, and remains at the pinnacle of the game, without sullying his reputation as a cricketer, or man. Although a few would recollect that bizarre charge of ball tampering against Tendulkar. Was it in South Africa?
Indian middle class adores Tendulkar.
In its hagiography, the great Indian Middle Class gratefully notes that Tendulkar has not uttered a single false line, nor has he played a single false stroke over the last two decades.
For Tendulkar could have married a Bollywood queen, or a Muslim beauty, for that matter. He could have had one-night stands with Bollywood starlets, he could have smoked pot, he could have run over the homeless and vagrant in Bombay in his Ferrari. He could have hunted Black Buck. Or he could have kept AK-47s hidden at his Bandra flat.
He was no Ian Botham, no Imran Khan if you can recall their heydays. Tendulkar lacks sexiness and flamboyance, and these have been his priceless middle class virtues.
Tendulkar only scored runs, calmed the waters when Indian ship was rocking out therein the choppy seas of international cricket.
Above all, Tendulkar's was one name that remained unsullied by the match-fixing scandal that shook India and the game.
Cricketers all over the world have accepted Tendulkar's moral and cricketing superiority.
Tendulkar, no doubt, is a genius. For, I was shocked when years ago, he told Amrit Mathur in an interview that he remembers all his dismissals. That's something incredible for me. Even in a recent interview to India Today, he has said much the same.
How could you keep all your low points in brain and still go ahead and score runs?
But in all these years India has not won the ultimate prize, the World Cup. On a personal note, a triple century remains unattainable for Tendulkar. He has broken all the batting records, but he has broken many Indian hearts too.
I was shocked when BCCI counsel Venugopal argued in the Supreme Court that BCCI selects not the Indian team but Team BCCI.
Tendulkar, being the middle class hero that he is, in his wisdom chose to rise above the politics of the argument and kept his silence.
Now could Tendulkar tell me, has he been playing over the last 20 years for the BCCI, or for India?
It does matter, after all.
In the name of the game, in the name of the land, it does matter after all.
But thanks for the runs, Tendulkar.

2 comments:

nitinsunny said...

Loved your narration. Beautifully put.

jc said...

i understand your thing against Tendulkar and some fellow mates. Isn't it political?Yes , sometimes i do agree that these guys should stand up for issues. But what good did it do with Amitabh Bachhan? He was also one middle class and Indian relate to. He had to apologize.And knowing what these Gundas can do, we definitely dont wish to see another of our hero do the same. Well,Sachin did speak for India vs. Maharastra later-on.

As for BCCI vs. India. The label doesn't matter.Same way we are happy to hear when Lata Mangeshkar is praised. I didnt know Lata Mangeshkar used to sing for Indian Goverment.Or When Amitabh Bachhan has his statue. The glory comes not to BCCI but India as a whole.We dont doubt them playing for India . It shows in their spirit.

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