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Tendulkar – a constant in the sea of change

By Ravi Shastri
Tuesday, December 21, 2021

It is not easy to be timeless when everything around you is in a bit of a rush. In today’s swirl of a life, Sachin Tendulkar is a sea of calmness. He was so when I first set sight on him in the late 80s. He is so in his third decade of international cricket.

Child prodigies in cricket are not rare. Teenagers, whether bowlers or batsman, have made marks in international cricket. But to go through a period of evolution and flourish for this long, with the accompanying pressure of form, fame, adulation, riches, glamour, temptation and to raise a family and balance your family life alongside, Tendulkar has been peerless. I doubt if fans really realize the heat and simmer of a burning deck on which Tendulkar has traversed for the last 21 years, unflinching and in utter poise.

Did this man never have doubts? Or Injuries? Or nagging personal issues? Do riches mean nothing to him? The bickering, the jealousy, the loneliness – all part of the deal of being on top of your profession? Did he never have the urge to get back at his critics, the know-nothings who have opinion on everything and informed view on nothing?

It is not as if Tendulkar hasn’t suffered the weight of being so absurdly successful. Only, he has chosen to unburden himself on a cricket pitch. What has frustrated him, he has let it out on a cricket ball. Hours spent under the sun on a cricket field has been a healing process for him to come to terms with his fame and riches.

The master of this game, in reality, is its ultimate student. He still finds new secrets and delights in its myriad alleys. As he confided to me at the Centurion, 50th Test century is only a number for him. The present generation of bowlers and the one to follow must quiver under his yoke for some more years.

Surely, mind has been his biggest strength. He has somehow seen and understood how money and adulation has got nothing to do with the quality of a life. It has allowed him to polish and hone his skills to the extent that I feel his technique in the last few years has been the tightest ever he has exhibited in his enduring career.

An overused sentiment but yes yours’ truly has truly been privileged to have had a ringside view of it all. Call him superman, batman or bats man. Take your pick.

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