While I always appreciated Tendulkar, I could never get myself to be a fan of his until latter part of his career. It mainly stemmed from my own belief that his contemporary, Brian Lara, was always the more expressive and dominant batsman. And it is a belief I still hold.
Lara made bigger 100s, 200s, 300s, 400s and 500s. Lara seemed to find another gear when the chips were down. Most importantly, Lara played shots no human before or since has the capacity to manufacture. It was ingenuity melded with hunger and laced with discipline.
Back when Tendulkar was at his supposed peak (1998, Coca-Cola Cup, Sharjah), his game was aggressive, the talent undeniable, the hunger apparent. But nothing Lara couldn’t emulate under equally challenging conditions or situations.
But Tendulkar grew on me. His travails after the tennis elbow injury, his loss of form in the mid-2000s, his willingness to cut out shots in the quest for runs (241* Sydney) demonstrated qualities that made him more human, and oddly enough, more endearing.
Then came a stretch of form from mid-2008 to mid-2011 that brought Tendulkar into sharp focus for me. The overly aggressive Tendulkar of the 90s would always be in the shadow of a Lara in full flow. The overly conservative Tendulkar of the 2002-2006 period was endearing, but overshadowed by Dravid, Ponting, Lara and the newcomer Pietersen.
The 2008-2011 Tendulkar however, was the final article. Balance. Skill. Awareness. Adaptation. Selective Aggression. He made the unforgiving art of batsmanship look easy.
There was this ODI innings in 2008, MCG:
There was this ODI innings in 2009, Hyderabad:
There was this ODI innings in 2010, Gwalior:
IPL 2010, he ended up being the top scorer in T20:
And then there was this 146 against South Africa;
Oh, and he played an instrumental part winning the World Cup for India.
This final version of Tendulkar is one that inspires awe because it is a level of skill, productivity, ingenuity & consistency no one in the modern era has come close to achieving.
No weaknesses. Just awesome displays of dominant batsmanship across all formats the game has to offer. It is as good as it gets and the monumental statistics he put up simply reinforce that reality.
If you had to draw a parallel from the world of software, a simplistic way to understand Tendulkar would be in the form of OSes.
- Lara was Arch Linux
- Dravid was Ubuntu,
- Ponting was Windows 7
- Kallis is Android Jelly Bean
Tendulkar 2008-2011 was iOS7 on the outside coupled with a hackable, continuously improving Android KitKat heart inside. Minus the creepy ‘Google Knows Everything’ bits, and AirPlay.
Farewell Sachin, you were batting perfection.
Chutzpah, it’s good for you.
In 1910, a young Parsi assistant accountant with the Bank of India in Bombay had the far-fetched idea that he could set up a bank of his own. When news of this alarmingly ambitious enterprise reached his Manager, H.P. Stringfellow, he sent for the young man seeking confirmation of such vaulting intent. At first, Stringfellow regarded it as a ‘huge joke’ but when he realised that the young man was serious, gravely advised him to abandon his scheme of a bank promoted and managed by Indians. Stringfellow was concerned about the young man’s career.
The young man had served the bank well and since no other Indian had attained the status he had, Stringfellow told him that he would be foolish to throw it all away in the search of a chimera. He asked him to ponder his advice and reconsider his decision. But the young man had already made up his mind and told his manager, ‘Sir, I have made up my mind. I resign the bank’s service. One day, my bank will be bigger than yours.’ In this seemingly precipitate manner was the decision taken from which a premier banking institution in the country was born. The young man: Sorabji N. Pochkhanawala. The bank: The Central Bank of India. Sorabji nurtured Stringfellow’s ‘huge joke’ into a living reality and if his manager was amused, it was Sorabji who laughed all the way to his ‘own’ bank.
Great passage. The ‘Swadeshi’ movement in India, 1905-1911 was a very fertile period of entrepreneurship, giving birth to a number of banks that were funded and operated by the people, for the people. More here.