My first memory of Tendulkar was way back in 1989. India was touring Pakistan and the broadcast on Doordarshan was grainy. I grew up in Mumbai and the 16 year old child prodigy was already being talked up in the local newspapers. There was anticipation in the air and the prodigy was expected to just about make it through the series. It is now stuff of legend, how the precocious child-like batsman smashed Abdul Qadir, one of Pakistan’s best leg spinners around for sixes and fours. Tendulkar had arrived and in style.
Tendulkar means a lot more than just a sporting icon in India. Like Matthew Hayden says, Tendulkar is now culture. Yes, he is part of modern Indian culture. A culture of excellence, hard word, ambition tempered by fair-play and the occasional emotion.
Anyone in their 40s could be called the Tendulkar generation. The generation that grew up listening to tales of Sunil Gavaskar’s feats but secretly admired the West-Indian dasher Viv Richards for his audacity and stroke-play. India was coming of age, the young were born decades after India had become independent and did not carry any colonial baggage.
The economy too was opening up and the young Indian was looking to take risks be audacious. Tendulkar embodied audacity and risk taking in his batting. But as if the past had not to be forgotten, he had also managed to fashion a near perfect batting technique for defensive stroke-play.
That Tendulkar generation is now in its 40s. But the Tendulkar generations kept growing. A thirty year old today remembers possibly the best phase of Tendulkar’s career from 1998 to 2004 – when he was playing blinders against Australia in Sharjah and square cutting Shoaib Akhtar over point for a six during a world cup match. All this while avoid endorsements from tobacco companies. Bats with MRF stickers sold like hot cakes. This generation not only admired Tendulkar but wanted to become him.
The 20 year old generation looks at Tendulkar a little differently. As the tough competitor who silently goes about doing his job without talking too much to the press giving interesting quotes. This generation looks at Sreesanth’s antics on the field and Gambhir – Kohli on-field spat and say “Tendulkar and Dravid would never do this”. This generation has enough audacious role-models but admire Tendulkar for being understated.
There will be critics and there will be accolades for Tendulkar written. Some will settle for nothing less than “God” to describe him, some will try to cut him down to size. But the several Tendulkar generations will have their own Tendulkar story, their own Tendulkar moment to remember and their own reason to toast him on his 40th birthday today.
After Sachin Tendulkar completed his 100 international centuries there have been a lot of people praising his achievement. But I have noticed that over the past few years a lot of cricket fans seem to criticize Sachin Tendulkar for whatever he does or does not do.
Most of this criticism expects Sachin Tendulkar to retire and a flowchart created by Guruprasad Gp has nicely explained, how some critics obsess over Sachin Tendulkar’s retirement.
Rahul Dravid announced his retirement today. It was a no-nonsense and simple statement that has ended his fantastic career. Much like the way he batted in the middle.
Rahul Dravid has often been over shadowed by more flamboyant players throughout his career. He scored a technically superb 95 on debut in England, but that innings was overshadowed by Saurav Ganguly’s debut century. The same thing happened almost all through his career. He was over shadowed by the towering records of Sachin Tendulkar or the stylish VVS Laxman.
But the simple truth is Rahul Dravid was not just a very good batsman but the single consistent reason why India started winning test matches outside India.
He played a 164 tests and scored 13,288 runs. That is the second most runs scored by a cricketer in the world. He averaged a fantastic 52.31. But that is a incomplete story of his real impact on India cricket.
A lot of experts say that India’s most glorious run in test cricket was when Ganguly was the captain. When Ganguly was the captain, Dravid scored 4912 runs at an incredible average of 73.31. In the 21 tests which India won under Ganguly, Dravid averaged an even more incredible 102.84.
As a captain not a lot of people gave Dravid much importance. But he did lead as captain to India winning a test series in West Indies and also England and is the only Indian captain to win in both these countries.
The famous venues that India won test matches abroad over the last decade are Leeds, Rawalpindi, Kingston, Adelaide, Perth. All of these matches featured a high scoring innings by Dravid.
If India was touring abroad and winning, it was only because a certain Rahul Dravid had scored runs. He has an average of 69.48 runs in the 24 matches India won aboard.
It is no surprise that the last overseas victory India had in Sabina Park against West Indies, also featured a match winning century by Dravid.
‘The Wall’ might have called it a day and retired but he certainly won’t ever be forgotten.
Today South Africa won a Test against Australia. South Africa won by a handsome 8 wickets. But the drama and mayhem from the day before was truly stuff of Cricket legend.
The first day ended with Australia on 214/8 with Micheal Clarke not out on 107. On day two, Clarke went on to score 151, while Australia scored 284.
South Africa was then blown away by Australia for a paltry 96.
Australia started the 3rd innings with a commanding lead of 188 runs. Australia was all set for a victory and guess what? They choked. Bowled out for only 47 runs it left South Africa to get 236 to win. The second day had started with the 1st innings and ended with the 4th innings resuming.
No more drama unfolded and the match was won with only 2 wickets being lost in the 4th innings.
Both teams in one innings managed so score over 200 while in another could not manage to reach 100.
Usually South Africa known to be chokers, especially against Australia ended up winning from a difficult position. Australia on the other hand did something they never do, which is choke when victory is in sight.
Both these teams are not ranked #1 and it is now over 2 years that Australia has been ranked behind India in Tests. Also England is the worlds #1 team. The world of cricket has truly turn around. 😀
Today India announced its squad for the Test series against West Indies, which will be touring India next month. The opposition is West-Indies which is probably not the best in the world but a notable omission from the squad is Harbhajan Singh.
The off-spinner has been controversial and a great fighter. He has taken over 400 wickets in test matches. But let’s go over his test record for the year 2011.
Test Record of Harbhajan Singh in 2011
Those numbers have been pathetic when compared to his career where he averages more than 4 wickets per test match. I think unlike other cricketers; he has not got a rest. He has played continuously for over a year, until getting injured in England. Even after a comeback he should have bowled in longer format in the Irani Trophy rather than playing Champions League for Mumbai Indians; then that is a different argument for a different post. 😛
Maybe a break would do him a lot of good and not harm. But being over 30, it might be difficult to make a comeback with youngsters breathing down his neck.
What are your views on Harbhajan Singh being dropped from the Test team? Do drop in your comments.
Little did Rahul Dravid imagine he was going to play another ODI match in his career after India won the World Cup in 2011. India were world champs and Dravid was not picked for over 2 years.
The nickname of ‘The Wall’ was apt and proven once again with Indian team struggling hopelessly in England but Dravid standing tall amongst the ruins, with 3 centuries in the Test series.
The selectors looked for a savior and selected Rahul Dravid marking his return to ODI format of the game.
Ironically, Dravid on being selected decided to declare it his last ODI series and retire from this format of the game. Today will be his last game. Here are some of his achievements in his ODI career spanning 15 years.
Dravids – ODI Career Stats
Dravid also was a safe fielder and has kept wickets for many matches.
He has taken 72 catches as a wicket-keeper while taking 124 catches as a fielder. He also has 14 dismissals as stumped taking his total dismissals while fielding to 210.
Further more Dravid bowled 31 overs and took 4 wickets as a bowler.
Dravid’s Captaincy Record in ODI
Rahul Dravid was not a celebrated captain mostly because of India being knocked out in the first stages of the World Cup in 2007. But his captaincy record is quite impressive in ODI format.
He captained India in 79 matches, winning 42 of them. This was a success rate of over 53%. This rate is marginally superior to even Ganguly’s success rate as captain which around 52%.
Do you think he deserves a lot more credit than he gets for Indian cricket and its achievements over the past decade and a half? Do drop in your comments.
India’s tour to England has been a disaster. We lost the series 4 – 0 and trail the ongoing ODI series 2-0. Yes, India has lost 6 matches without even winning a single one. But the bigger disaster seems to be for the players. India is losing more players than matches. The count has reached eight.
I wonder if BCCI means the Board of Control for Cricket Injuries??
Here is the list of players injured in this tour of England:
Seems like India’s injured team is a lot stronger than the one thats playing out there.
Way back in 1993 in January/February – England toured India. They were considered to be the better test side but ended up losing the 3 test series 3-0. Today with a 4-0 victory over India, England has avenged its defeat. They have also moved to the top of the ICC Test Rankings, while India which went to England as #1 has not slipped to #3.
Batting Flopped: India’s best batsman in this series was Rahul Dravid who scored 3 centuries. No one else scored a hundred and the Indian team scored 300 runs only once.
Bowling Flopped: The bowling derailed from the first day onwards. Zaheer Khan was out of the first Test with an injury, Harbhajan Singh was similarly gone after the second. Amit Mishra did not impress with the ball. Praveen Kumar was probably the most impressive and was leading India’s bowling attack. Considering he has made his test debut only a month ago, leaves a lot to desire about India’s bench strength.
Bad Selections: Rohit Sharma, arguably India’s best batsman from the younger lot, was not picked to play Test matches. Munaf Patel was left stranded while a late addition into the team like RP. Singh was immediately picked for a match.
Too Much Cricket and Injuries: India did not play a single test match without injury problems. The first test saw Zaheer Khan injured, second test saw Harbhajan Singh injured. Third Test started without many more injuries but it ended with Praveen Kumar being injured. After the fourth Test Sehwag and Ishant Sharma are returning to India after injuries. The number of players being injured probably resembles a rugby team and not a cricket team. This is probably because of way too much Cricket being played over the past couple of years.
BCCI: The BCCI seems hardly interested in Test cricket. There is no explanation possible for a tour of England with only a single practice game. Guess what India is touring Australia in December this year, and according to schedule, India has only one club level practice game before the Test series.
Recently with the 3-0 lead in the India vs England Test series, India has lost the #1 ranking for Test Cricket. England has displaced India. The shocking part of this defeat has been a tired Indian bowling side that never threatened the opposition batsman while the batsman are yet to score 300 in an innings even after 3 tests.
Here is a quick poll on what you think might be the reason India lost the #1 ranking in Tests.
Who is responsible for India's downfall from #1 Rank in Test Cricket?
Too Much Cricket (50%, 3 Votes)
BCCI (33%, 2 Votes)
Batsman (17%, 1 Votes)
Selectors (0%, 0 Votes)
Bowlers (0%, 0 Votes)
Total Voters: 6
If you have more inputs about the downfall of the Indian cricket team, do share these views in your comments.