Sunday, March 24, 2013

Man who looks out of place in his own home

And there ends the quest for revenge. Australia has been whitewashed 4-0 in our home series. Few outstanding individual performance, an alert captain and one of the worst opposition team line-up to have visited India in recent memory have all contributed to an emphatic win against the Kangaroos. Lots of highlight moments in this series; a blistering double hundred by Dhoni in the first test set the tone for the entire series(could almost be compared to a commanding hundred scored by Ganguly in Brisbane to show his young team the direction), extremely accurate bowling by young Jadeja(though he has to work hell a lot in his batting to find a permanent place in the team) and some signs of Ishant Sharma coming into some kind of form are all great signs for this team moving forward.(this guy, if fit could a handful in South Africa). Also, notable performance by certain players who has taken maximum advantage of a very weak Australian team are few positive bowling spells from Ashwin, calm and composed batting stints by Pujara and positive, but also cautious batting display by M Vijay. Future of Vijay, Pujara and Ashwin may well depend on how they perform in South Africa and that really is the place where the men will be differentiated from the boys. As usual, Kohli looked nimble, hungry and at-ease at all times in the wicket, though he is yet to come out with a big innings in his test career.  Having said these, South Africa will be a huge turning point of this young team and in any case, we are clear underdogs against an extremely strong and inarguably the best team in the world at this moment.

In all these, there is no mention of one man from the team - Sachin Tendulkar. For a whitewash of such magnitude against the most dreaded opposition in recent times, there was not a single notable contribution from the legend(his 81 in Chennai was his highest in the whole series). Australia for long has been his favourite opposition but he has not even been a shadow of himself. His average of 32 is most disappointing and he has struggled even against the likes of people like Lyon and Pattinson. The most painful was the legend who played with a wrecking back and almost won a game against the like of Akram, Waquar and Saqulain on a 5th day wicket was not able to face the likes of Lyon and Maxwell.

He looks out of place and am sure deep down he would be agonised by the fact that his contributions was almost zero in this series against arch rival Australia.  Not only will he be agonised, it would be heart-breaking for those people who had went through phases in cricket where Sachin was that single man army and was the go-to man for the entire team. He would set an example in every facet of the game and was the reason for many watching the game with lots of emotion and passion. Now, he is just a part of a winning team which has come from somebodyelse's contribution.

Is it all for the tag that he would be first man to have played 200 test matches? Has he forgot, that his fans and well-wishers would no longer be able to unabatedly back him in any small debates in the drawing rooms, coffee rooms, restaurants etc? In all accounts, he has surely played atleast 20 test matches past his prime. Surely, nobody will remember him as the only person to have played 200 test matches or 100 centuries in International cricket. Rather, he would always be remembered for this blitzkreig in Sharjah, many duels with McGrath, WC 2003 match against Pakistan and even a single six against Caddick in WC 2003.

His fans who worship him and take pride in saying he is a Sachin fan, are slowly but surely are feeling deep down why is Sachin putting them on a spot with his mediocre play  and his stubbornness to not call it quits.  He would really have to take a hard look at himself and his future before taking that plane to South Africa, because it surely is only Sachin who can stop himself and accept the fact that the time is up and he needs to put an end to the embarrassment his fans are suffering for sometime now.