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Dear Sachin Tendulkar

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by Balajee, Nov 17, 2013.

  1. Balajee

    Balajee IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Sachin Tendulkar

    Let me make it clear at the outset that I care two hoots for the game that has made you a god. I don’t give a damn for cricket though cruel circumstances in a period of my journalistic career made me cover the world cup played in India. I detest the game whch has lost sheen even in native country of Britain but remains a classic example of colonial hangover in India and other countries once under the yoke of Britain.


    So you may wonder, if you ar3 reading this ( which I doubt) why I am writing to you when I don’t care for your game. . The problem is the herds of sheep in human form among whom my cruel destiny has thrown me are crazy about the game. And have idolized you..

    Now, I am not here to discuss whether you deserve a Bharat Ratna or not as some people are wasting the blog space doing. These government honours are a big joke and from Padmashree to Bharat Ratna, lot of factors other than merit matter when it comes to deciding the recipients. See even the late MGR got the Bharat Ratna once because the congress government then wanted to cement its electoral ties with his AIADMK

    So the issue here is something else.. See . whether rightly or wrongly you have been hyped as God. . (Don’t be surprised if someone soon spreads a rumor that honey and milik were following from the bat or pads used by you and you have a massive queue of fools waiting for the darshan of the “miracle).

    That gives you enormous power over the gullible sports bhaktas and along with it a great responsibility..You see dear God, in tis Kali Yuga sports bodies are occupied by people who play games that are altogether different from the sport organization whose office bearers they are.


    Now what is common between Rajiv Shukla, Narendra Modi, Jyotiraditya Scindia, , Shashank Manohar, Jagmohan Dalmiya and one Mr.Sreenivasan? They all don’t play cricket have nothing to do with that game except that they have a hand in running the affairs of cricket in this country. Mr. Srieenivasan is particularly admirable. He should endorse Fevicol on TV ads. The presidential chair of the Board for Control of Cricket in India ( BCCI) seems to have been attached to his ample rear with a that particular adhesive. If you form a cricket team with this bunch, I am sure you will have enough ducks quacking away to glory. even after a mohalla-level match. .

    Now, I reiterate I don’t care for cricket. . But I do care for other sports. I care for football, boxing, athletics and what not. And all the concerned sports bodies are plagued by people who have nothing to do with these games. While Hockey India is headed by an ex-cop better known for bottom pinching (of a lady not that of players) who has been found guilty of sexual harassment by Supreme Court itself. As for the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), it is a big joke the world over. Despite repeated warnings of the International Olympic Committee , the politicians and their toadies running the show there refuse even to blink.

    You Sachin, are now in a position to change things. There is already a movement on in Karnataka to cleanse the sports bodies of such unwelcome filth. The movement is spearheaded by athlete Ashwini Nachappa. But alas her voice is not as powerful as that of a cricketer of your stature.

    So why not give a clarion call to purge sports bodies of politicians, pimps, power brokers and pot-bellied moneybags. Millions of idolatrous Indians will add their voices to yours. Let this be your second innings in sports after taking your last bow from the pitch.

    Will you pick up the gauntlet ?


    Yours sincerely,

    A concerned sports lover
     
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  2. satchitananda

    satchitananda IL Hall of Fame

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    Hmm.... Good thought. But will he, won't he. That is the question. Or will he just remain content to run his famous restaurant and take it easy?
     
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  3. Mindian

    Mindian IL Hall of Fame

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    Hi Balajee,

    While I cheer for Sachin along with the rest of our country, I quite understand your point. Bharat rathna was taking it a bit too far IMO. Just shows that we Indians always react emotionally and impulsively.
    There has always been a lot of hype over Cricket in our country at the cost of other sports. Really sad and it is a great suggestion from you that he devote the rest of his life doing something to promote other games and players. But why only Sachin? What about the Ambanis or other industrialists? Even if each of them sponsor one game it would be such an encouragement to the other games.
     
  4. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Balajee,

    Every sports organization requires cleansing in India and more and more sports personnel need to take control of these organizations. Only reason for industrialists and politicians to go after these coveted posts is because of the money involved in such sports authorities. Can Government bring a sports tax to take some of the money away from BCCI to distribute to other sports?

    It is like chicken and egg situation. The sports need financial support to train sports personnel and more money comes in only if they do well in sports. Without waiting for money to come in, the Government should assign more money towards sports to make a big inroads into Olympics. Chinese, Taiwanese, Korean governments are doing just that to make big impact in the sports. Tennis picked up some interest when Krishnan, Amritaraj brothers were dominent. How many gold medals Indian hockey team used to get when I was a child?

    You are right. Besides Tendulkar, many retired sports personnel should join hands to bring some awareness in India to support all other sports, eradicate corruption and make the government to think in terms of investing funds to build infrastructure and train sports personnel in these fields to get better results.

    Viswa
     
  5. Balajee

    Balajee IL Hall of Fame

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    No Satchi, I don't think he will. He has not been awarded Bharat Ratna merely because of his contribution to sports I suspect. Otherwise why have we ignored sportsmen like Vishy anand who has held the crown of world chess champion for years and Geet Sethi, who has been the world billiards champ for years. Why not to Nahesh Bhupati and Leander Paes who were the world's top doubles tennis pair? The reason is the ruling clique desperate at the possibility of losing power, wants to use his poularity to return to power. Don't be surprised if Sachin jumps into electoral fray or campaigns for the ruling party.
     
  6. jayasala42

    jayasala42 IL Hall of Fame

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    [h=1]Master Blaster or Master Laster: A revisionist look at Sachin Tendulkar’s career[/h] Master Laster undertakes a more granular analysis of Tendulkar’s performances in course of his career

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    The statistical googlies that Sumit Chakraberty’s ‘Master Laster: What They Don’t Tell You About Sachin Tendulkar’ dishes out are bound to make the average Sachin fan see red. Photo: PTI




    If there is one realm of human activity that is ripe for data journalism, it is cricket. You could say it is a sport invented with the express purpose of giving employment to statisticians. And yet statistical yardsticks that are used to evaluate a player’s value or achievements have failed to keep pace with the evolution of the game itself. This is particularly strange given the exponential increase in the volume of cricket being played, and the amount of money riding on the game.



    For instance, how accurate are career averages as a measure of a batsman’s greatness? Do aggregate stats—such as the number of centuries or fifties scored—obscure more than they reveal about a player’s real value? Does a century made on a flat track against a toothless bowling attack with nothing at stake have the same value as one made while batting with tailenders on a crumbling fifth day wicket against a formidable attack to take the team to an unlikely victory? These are some of the questions raised by Sumit Chakraberty’s Master Laster: What They Don’t Tell You About Sachin Tendulkar, out this week from Hay House publishers. (Disclosure: Chakraberty is a former colleague, and I have been acknowledged in the book.)



    Chakraberty, a journalist and cricket writer, starts with a simple question: if cricket is a team game, “not an individual sport like singles tennis,” why then are we swamped with statistics that only present personal milestones? Where are the stats that tell us about a player’s value to the team? And how would Tendulkar fare when subjected to a statistical regime that focuses on impact analysis from the team’s point of view rather than individual records? This is one question, notes Chakraberty, that “the scores of adulatory books on him tend to gloss over, happy to sing paeans to his personal milestones.”



    Still, why pick Sachin Tendulkar to test out new models of statistical analysis? Because, answers Chakraberty, “Nobody else has stats as impressive as his. He is the perfect candidate, therefore, to test the hypothesis that we need new yardsticks to measure the achievements of cricketers, and to separate the contributions that really mattered from those that mostly bulked up a player’s statistical profile.”



    Master Laster undertakes a more granular analysis of Tendulkar’s performances in the course of his 24-year long international career. Chakraberty marshals not just strike rates and batting orders from years gone by, but also painstakingly dissects every one of Tendulkar’s 51 Test centuries, match by match. He does the same for his six World Cup appearances.



    Using an approach that takes cognizance of unique match situations rather than blunt statistical instruments such as batting averages or number of hundreds, he reaches three conclusions, all highly controversial: one, Tendulkar was a selfish player who put personal records above team interest; two, he could not handle match-winning pressure situations; and three, his staggering numbers are more an outcome of his longevity than a measure of his impact.



    The statistical googlies that Chakraberty dishes out are bound to make the average Sachin fan see red. But they sure fulfill the promise of the book’s subtitle: What they don’t tell you about Sachin Tendulkar.



    For starters, where does Tendulkar figure in the list of top 45 batsmen who have scored 15% or more of their team’s total runs in the course of their Test career? The answer: Nowhere. Predictably, Don Bradman tops the list,Brian Lara is at number three, and Sunil Gavaskar is at number 16. His absence on this list belies the claim often made that Tendulkar’s low impact was because he played in weak teams—for if he had been outdoing his teammates by that wide a margin, he would have figured somewhere near the top in this list of batsmen with the highest percentages of their team’s runs.



    Here’s another: In ODIs, India won the match 67% of the time when Sachin scored a century. Sounds impressive? Well, this happens to be the lowest win percentage for any opener or top order batsman. For instance, India won 82% of the time when Tendulkar’s fellow opener Saurav Gangulyscored a century; Australia won 100% of the time when Adam Gilchristscored a 100. The corresponding win percentages are 93% for Virender Sehwag, 84% for Brian Lara, 80% for Saeed Anwar, and 83% for Ricky Ponting.



    More interestingly, Tendulkar’s win percentage dips to 52% for his last 25 ODI centuries, made between 2000 and 2012. His first 24 tons had a higher win percentage of 83%—roughly the same as Lara, Jayasuriya, Ponting and Ganguly. In other words, from 2000 to the present, whenever Tendulkar scored a 100, India lost the match half the time. This is unparalleled in any other player’s stats. What does one make of this?



    The limitations of cumulative statistical records as a measure of a player’s value are revealed most starkly by another doosra tossed up by Chakraberty: Tendulkar’s Test career (not counting the ongoing Windies series) boasts of a formidable 51 centuries and 67 fifties. How many of these were “scored under pressure in the second innings to win a Test match for India outside the sub-continent?” None. Yet V.V.S. Laxman did it four times and Rahul Dravid thrice.



    As he brings every one of Tendulkar’s 51 Test centuries under the microscope, Chakraberty picks his 241 not out in Sydney in 2003-04 as his worst knock from the team’s perspective. The reason: It cost India what could have been its first ever Test series victory in Australia.



    India was 400 for 3 at lunch on Day 2. It was expected that we would quicken the scoring rate and declare an hour after tea – the usual practice in such situations—so that the bowlers could have a go at the Aussie batsmen in the day’s last session. But India batted on well into the third day, declared at 705 for 7, and eventually lost a chance to win a match they dominated because they ran out of time.



    Observes Chakraberty, “Imagine a Dhoni at the crease with his team on 400 for 3. Would he continue at the same strike rate or hit out until either he gets out or the innings is declared? To carry on playing a risk-free game, when the team is on top and needs quick runs to increase the chances of forcing a victory, is one of the maddening anomalies in team sports like cricket, where personal goals can often be at odds with team requirements.”



    But Tendulkar knew the match situation. So why didn’t he quicken his scoring rate even at 500 for 3? Well, this innings was crucial for Tendulkar. It was the last match in a series where he had done nothing of note, whereas Laxman, Dravid and Ganguly had all scored centuries in match-saving or match-winning situations. Besides, his manner of dismissal was attracting derisive comment—he had been repeatedly getting out playing on the up on the offside.



    So the champion responded in champion style: he completely eliminated cover drives. For a stroke player to shut out one half of the ground takes tremendous amount of discipline, self-control and will power, and players like Lara have on different occasions expressed their admiration for this knock. But such austerity also meant drastically reduced scoring opportunities, which ensured that his scoring rate remained pedestrian right through his innings. But he achieved his objective: a double hundred in Sydney and a vastly improved series batting average.



    In a sense, this innings epitomizes the real nature of Tendulkar’s greatness, which was always embedded in a fundamental weakness: his selfish gene. His selfishness, in combination with his tremendous self-belief, commitment to success, and ability to adapt his game to changes in his body, fitness, rules of the game, or format, led to the mega-phenomenon that came to dominate Indian cricket for a more than two decades.



    The Tendulkar of the “noughties”, for instance, was not the same player who astonished the world with his stroke play in the nineties. Back spasms, tennis elbow, the crack in a sesamoid bone in his foot—they were all serious injuries that may have shortened the career of a lesser player. But Tendulkar was able to retrofit his game to his new set of physical constraints in such a way as to lengthen his career to its maximum.



    This could not have been done without thousands of hours of dedicated practice and discipline, a keen understanding of the game, and awareness of his own strengths and limitations. For instance, in the latter part of his career, he cut out the pull shot, even though he was one of the best pullers in the game and it was a key weapon in his armory. He stopped coming down the track to spinners, and developed the paddle sweep to make the bowler bowl a shorter length.



    His singular goal was to spend as much of his life at the wicket as possible, and he was willing to make everything else subservient to that goal. If it means, for example, not fielding at the slips in order to protect his fingers from injury, so be it. It didn’t matter that in any team the top order batsmen are expected to man the slips because of their ability to sight the ball early. It didn’t matter that India would have to manage with an inferior slip fielder at the risk of catches being dropped—he would stick to the outfield. And how many times have commentators been kind enough to draw our attention to his strong throwing arm?



    Tendulkar’s greatness rests on four pillars: the supreme beauty of his stroke play and the perfection of his technique; the mindboggling amount of runs he has scored in all formats of the game; his impact beyond the boundary as a marketing phenomenon; and his iconic status as an emblem of hope and a source of inspiration for millions in his own country and around the world. Defined by these parameters, his greatness is beyond debate, and Chakraberty does not contest them.



    But if you were to ask: Given his stupendous talent, did the Indian team benefit from it as much it should have, the answer is a big no. Lesser talents have consistently had far greater impact on match outcomes for their teams. One may or may not agree with the conclusions of this book, but the questions it raises about the way we evaluate cricketing achievement needs to be debated.
    jayasala42





















     
  7. rachaputi

    rachaputi Platinum IL'ite

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    Hmmm...

    Point should be noted..
     
  8. Balajee

    Balajee IL Hall of Fame

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    Mindi first I suspect that the Bharatr Ratna award is not an impulsive or emotional one. With parliamentary elections due within a few months it is an attempt by the ruling alliance to woo Sachin's fans. Also Sachin may be fielded either as a major campaigner or even a candidate, in an attempt to convert his popularity into votes.

    Quite a few industrial houses are contributing their mite to promoting sports other than cricket.Tata steel encourages adventure sports like moutaineering and even archery / (Bachendri Pal is a staffer there). Many state-owned banks railways and even state police employ athletes, wrestlers, boxers and hockey players. But still more needs to be done..
     
  9. Balajee

    Balajee IL Hall of Fame

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    Viswa the government can also give tax rebates to industrial houses that contribute to building sports infrastructure, financially support sportsmen and provide training facilities to them. Yes BCCI is a cash cow and it should be milked with a vengence.
    Guidelines should also be established on qualifications for getting elected as office bearers of sports bodies, including some contribution as a player to sports. Elections to these bodies should be made more transparent and brought into public domain.
     
  10. momandme

    momandme Silver IL'ite

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    I am bored with the constant discussions with Sachin, on Sachin, about Sachin!!!!!!! He played well, didn't do it for charity and I don't consider any human being as God or above God! But yes, he should use the devotion he gets to do something better for the country. Whether he continues to gain mileage by endorsing highly commercialized things or serve the nation by doing something worth mentioning is yet to be seen!
     

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