I started playing cricket at a very young age but did not have the patience to sit through a entire cricket match on television. The first game I ever watched was a match between India and Pakistan in Sharjah in 1990. India were chasing a total of 250 odd against a strong Pakistani bowling attack and there walked in a young batsman barely 18 years old. He was none other than Sachin Tendulkar. This was my first look at the great player. I did not have too many memories of the game as it was the first game I ever watched. The only thing I remember was that India lost that game and Sachin got out trying to smash Mushtaq Ahmad for the third consecutive time in an over.
Before watching this game I always thought that Sachin Tendulkar was a model who happened to act with Kapil in the Boost ad which was very famous at that time. Sachin played a brand of cricket which was not that prevalent in the early 90’s. He was attacking and also very positive in his strokeplay when he was at the crease batting. Since that Innings in Sharjah I have closely followed Sachin’s career. I guess Sachin will agree with me that the biggest failure so far in his career has been his captaincy. He has captained India on two separate occasions and both the times it was not that great. He has been a great player and great ambassador for Indian cricket over the years.
In recent times his batting has gone downhill, even though he is still one of the major run getters in this period. Sachin’s major problem has been that he has changed his batting style which unfortunately is not his natural one. He has tried to change his batting style according to the team’s needs which is the cause for his inconsistent performance in the last few years. Sachin has always drawn parallel to another contemporary great Brian Charles Lara who retired from International cricket just a month ago after the World Cup. Lara’s success is based on the fact that he never changed his batting style no matter what his role in the team was.
Sachin on the other hand has been confused with his role in the team and has decided to be more circumspect with his batting being one of the senior members in the team. We all know that Sachin can still be the devastating one-day batsman he was couple of years back. The innings he played against Srilanka just before the World Cup further proves my point. For Sachin to get back to one-day team and make a difference he needs to get back to his strength. I remember him as a fearless young boy standing up to the likes of Waqar, Wasim, Donald, Ambrose and few other great bowlers of this era. He is one of the players who took pinch hitting to a different level, where the shots were not mere slogs but pure cricketing strokes. He has been an inspiration to countless number of youngsters who want to follow his path and become like him.
He deserves to have a send off from Indian cricket just like the way Glenn McGrath had after the World Cup. Being the great player that he is, I guess he owes it to himself. As I was writing this article, Sachin scored his 36th test century against Bangladesh in the first match of the series in chittagong. I hope that Sachin continues this form in to the rest of the season ahead against the English team and the Australians later this year. I hope he also makes a comeback into the Indian one-day team and plays the way we all know he can. For a great player like him it does not take too much to get back to his strength give his fans much more to cheer about in the last few years of his wonderful career. I have been an ardent fan of his and will continue to be the same till the end as he was the one who got me interested in this wonderful game and also inspired me to write about the same.