February 03, 2006

An Open Letter to Sachin Tendulkar

Outlook India, 03.02.06

Dear Sachin,

Iím sure youíve heard this line a million times: 'Iím a big, big fan.'

Our country has many gods – the Durga is not revered with the same vigour outside Bengal, while the Ganapati is Maharashtraís elite deity. Muslims and Christians have their own God. We have appropriated the various avatars of the almighty and jealously cling to them.

But no one appropriates you. You belong to India – from every little town to the bustling metropolis.

We have many demands from you. Most of the times youíve paid heed, but when you donít, we cry in anguish. The only time our mothers ever stopped doing household work was when you walked in to bat. The one cricketer whose name all our mothers could remember was Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar.

Life has many experiences in store for us, but it leaves very few permanent imprints. Your exuberant celebrations after the final ball of the Hero Cup semi final, your feats amidst the Middle Eastern desert storm and violating the dreams of Shane Warne were such imprints. We grew up being fanatical about our little champion.

But those were the 90s.

Our mothers have come a long way – these days they know most of our cricketers. Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly, even Yuvraj Singh and Irfan Pathan have all occupied a chunk of our cricket euphoric minds. It is no longer fashionable to take less than 5 seconds to answer when asked who our favourite cricketer is. Do you feel slightly dethroned?

You neednít be – your knock in the 2003 World Cup against Pakistan assured us: "Arre bhai, Sachin is Sachin."

You made your 35th test century 7 innings ago. You are perhaps feeling crestfallen at newspapers headlines such as "Endulkar". But donít you understand that you are not supposed to have slumps? Youíve had a few, and each time it is equally painful for us to handle. 16 years of international cricket or not, youíre still 32. How can you be done?

Rahul Dravid has crossed your test average and Ricky Ponting is threatening your record of test centuries. More than you, this is a cause for worry for us. You have so much more to do – a certain Brian Lara still holds the record for the highest test runs. Your record suddenly looks mortal – whatever happened to Sunil Gavaskarís prediction that you will leave the field with records impossible for anyone else to touch?

India – the land of a million deities – is suddenly one short. Our little master has gone missing. "God is back", hoped a journalist upon your explosive return to one-day cricket after injury. But obviously that was more a spark than a blaze.

When a batsman scores 163, the others are supposed to fade. But the 1,00,000-odd people at the Eden Gardens about eight years ago were deflating their lungs not at Mohammed Azharuddin, who had, admittedly, played a gem of an innings.

86 balls, 79 runs – 12 fours and 2 sixes. This was the majestic Tendulkar at his very best. Rahul Dravid mustíve felt dejected at the huge cheering that erupted at his dismissal after making a typically assured 86 off 150 balls. The crowd knew they had lost a star, but a master was about to take centre stage. That was the first – and only – time I saw you play live, and like the other 99,999 people, I was stunned.

I – and many others, Iím sure – pray that the sun has not yet set on our little champion. We hope that the drums and bugles will be back even louder. And we hope they will reach their crescendo at the Kensington Oval in Barbados next year at the highest stage cricket has to offer – the World Cup final. The writing will then be definitely on the wall- "The God of India has returned".

And the lesser mortals will again gape in pure admiration.

Yours sincerely,

Aruni Mukherjee


Aruni Mukherjee who sent us this open letter to Sachin Tendulkar is based at the University of Warwick, England.

- 11 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

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  1. heheh. I used to love sachin back in the day. So random to see this entry… la la la… sachin tendulkar… lala.. wait a minute…??!!

    Lol, sorry for the randomness, as you can see it caught my eye. Anyway, wow, um hello aruni, you're the second person ive seen on warwick blogs who has the same surname as me!

    04 Feb 2006, 00:39

  2. Koel,

    As you perhaps noticed, I just use the blog as a collection of some of my published work. The open letter to Sachin was published in Outlook yesterday. Anyway, I do hope Sachin regains his lustre.

    Thanks for reading my blog and posting.


    04 Feb 2006, 07:58

  3. Santyappa

    After watching without sleep the 14 painful runs score by sachin in 62 balls in the third test…the only thing I have to say is he retire gracefully!

    12 Jan 2007, 19:47

  4. You may have to eat your words at the World Cup.

    15 Jan 2007, 10:28

  5. A fan of Indian cricket

    I have heard a lot and read a lot about SRT. I am a fan of SRT, forget the records, etc, but for the sheer class and agression he displayed when playing the finest. As a teenager, I was a big fan of Sunny Gavaskar, and the crap the media and his fans put him through in the mid 80s was sad. I was honestly ashamed to be an Indian citizen. Surely, we have a right to challenge and criticize someone. But after everything Sunny had done for Indian cricket – to continously demand his retirement and bitch and complain was in poor taste. After all the man came to Delhi and destroyed Marshall and Co in two consecutive matches in 1983. That does not happen to a batsman well past his prime who people claimed hung on to his career. Let us not forget the 96 against Pakistan – which would have won us the match were it not for the wrong decision against him.
    In India, we have regularly heaped criticism on all our great players, from Sunny, Kapil, spin quartet, to Dravid, Ganguly, etc. It seemed that people are not Indian cricket fans but fans of a particular player, and they wish him to do well at the expense of everyone else and the team. How else do we explain the derrogatory comments about all the above players.
    Even now they complain about SRT not winning matches. The man single handedly led us to the WC final, nobody has treated the Pak attack with such disdain as he did. Every Indian was haunted by the image of Miandad hitting the last ball 6 to win in 1986. With that one 6 of Aktar – Sachin erased that nightmare and released the Pak ODI stranglehold on India. All we have to do is consistently go down history and admire his contributions. People complain that in Calcutta he did not contribute in the match where Laxman made 281. Well Laxman played the greatest innings perhaps an Indian will play, second only to Sunny’s 96. But did SRT not get 3 wkts in the second innings of Hayden, Warne and Gilly to contribute to the win. Did he not make 126 in the next match to win.
    Perhaps his better innings lately was the 95 against Pak in Pak, in the ODI last year. With the ball swinging away, SRT was absolutely a technical marvel. Dravid was being beaten repeatedly but SRT displayed his skill. I am a great fan of Dravid, Sehway, Yuvi, Kumble, Dhoni, etc. I love it when they do well, b/c I want Indian cricket to do well. However all of us have our favourite – and SRT is mine. There is a saying, a great batsman can handle any delivery, but a genius can punish the great delivery.
    At times when our heroes struggle and when they need our support we are out to crucify them. Perhaps age is catching up on him, perhaps his body has taken a toll from 17 yrs of test cricket. But instead of uniting and supporting our team, we are all out to discredit everyone else but our heroes. The tragedy in doing that is we as individuals deprive ourselves of enjoying great players. Lets relish Dravid’s heroics, Laxman’s absolutely brilliant 281. As Wright said Laxman played that innings fully conscious of the fact that if he got out the series was lost. To bat like that under pressure from Warne, McGrath, etc was beyond most of our imaginations.
    Whether SRT ever recovers his magic is not important anymore, what matters is that India do well in the WC and they all contribute as a team and bring home the cup. A day will arrive soon when SRT walks away forever and 20 yrs from now we will be complaining how India never got a great opener in ODI and #4 in Test to replace him, just as we are still trying to find a half decent opening bat to replace Sunny. lately I watch him bat and it disheartens me, to see him struggle. I wonder what ails this great player – is it his technique, his mindset, his body. It cannot be his technique as he has shown his greatness lately although it comes in spurts instead of gushes. Perhaps he needs to develop a mentally of a Sehway, which with SRT’s prudence would unleash his aggression.
    to be continued

    25 Jan 2007, 19:41

  6. An Indian cricket fan

    When did we ever sit down as a nation and recognize and celebrate the contribution of Sunny or Kapil – look at how Aussies recognize their greats. Our cricket is treated as there being only one hero and everyone else be damned. After all it is a team game and even though we have our favourites, it is the team victory that matters.
    When I think of destructive batsman in ODI history, the 2 that come to mind are Viv Richards and SRT – both who did it over and over again. As a nation we ought to rise and spur these men in blue – Indians thrive on emotion and patriotism – invoke that in the men in blue and they will shine. Why else do we care so much about our game against Pak. Records are meant to be broken, and even if Ponting and Lara lead the century and runs scored, I hope another Indian will rise in the future and bring back those records where they belong.

    25 Jan 2007, 19:42

  7. Good to see some support for Sachin.

    26 Jan 2007, 13:08

  8. Emily Fernandez

    Hey, wow
    that letter u wrote ‘to Sachin’.... wow. really sad about the World Cup though… sigh…

    02 Apr 2007, 12:17

  9. I hope Sachin’s powers are not terminally on the wane.

    02 Apr 2007, 14:25

  10. heremoumita@yahoo.com

    Sachin is the best player of the world .Sachin will surely give the answers to all the criticism he’ve got.people are so ungrateful to sachin. He did a a lot of things for country But the media,people ,board membars forget everything.I am happy to see aruni’s support to sachin. I am sure that he will soon give answers to all.

    01 May 2007, 06:21

  11. Amen.

    01 May 2007, 14:30

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