This started as a comment on sidvee’s blog, which became a ramble. So, since I generally put up my rambles here, here you go…. Of course cleaned up a bit for the blog
I’d been a Sachin-baiter for a very long time…
The Sachin v1 of the ’90s was almost repellant in his perfection. He could do everything! And the only way he knew to win was the Sharjah way, as the one-man battering ram. The team around him, it seemed, was not inspired by his greatness, but was just dependant on him to pull off the win singlehandedly. Those wins would come, yes, but is there a doubt that those would be rare? There’s a reason there are 11 players in a cricket team; and in the context of Jordan, we forget Scotty, and Grant and Kukoc. We even forget Rodman. We forget they play 5 in basketball. And we forget Deschamps, and Desailley and Blanc and Youri and Thierry and Paddy Vieira and Petit and Pires and Ronaldo and Raul and Figo and Hierro and McManaman and Makalele and Casillas and — hell what are we talking about here, France ’98/’00 and Real early ’00 were, with or without Zidane, some of the greatest football teams mankind has seen.
Why did I dislike Sachin? That’s because there could be only one Diego.
And then, somewhere in the early ’00s, Dravid grew up, and Dada grew up, and Laxman grew up, Sehwag came to town, and we realized the real worth of a bespectacled quick-ish legbreak googly bowler. I believe that was when the injuries and the pressure – the weight of a decade of a nation expecting him to haul a comatose team across the line — took its toll. We had the Pippen, the Grant and the Kukoc, but Jordan didn’t show up all the time. He still did sometimes! That legendary on-side double in Australia; the Shoaib demolition in 2003, were both Jordan moments.
And then came the injuries.
And then came Sachin v2. Sachin v2, is our Jordan. And who doesn’t like Sachin v2?
He sheet-anchors with a strike rate of more than a hundred; he does not deal in sixes in T20’s, he scores with a strike rate of 30 for the first half of his innings in tests.
And he scores 8 hundreds in a year; scores double-hundreds in one-dayers; finishes off test centuries with two sixes; makes Yuvraj Singh play responsibly in a second innings chase of nearly 400; he even scores the highest in the IPL. That’s not Jordan, that’s Rajinikanth.
Perhaps. Perhaps that’s what we needed.