Wednesday 16 July 2014

Sachin Tendulkar

If you want people from the subcontinent to read your blog you have to write about Sachin Tendulkar. And if you want to generate a lot of comments down the bottom there so you look popular you have to write something controversial.

Unfortunately, I do kind of think Sachin Tendulkar was the best batsman of his generation.

Not of all time, of course. Like everyone else he wasn't half the batsman Don Bradman was, only a crackpot would tell you otherwise.

My favourite ever Tendulkar innings was the 241* he made in Sydney in 2004. He was woeful. I have never seen a bloke so terribly out of form make so many runs. That's mental strength. That's courage. That's determination.

People often put up Brian Lara as a contender, but I have never forgiven Lara for the South Africa tour in 1998. Here he was the great black star of the game, the captain, making the West Indies first big tour of a post-apartheid South Africa. Here was a man who had the chance to inspire black South Africa to the game, and to stand as a beacon of black pride and achievement. The captain of a team that has black pride woven into its tapestry, a team that has at times placed black pride foresquare in its aspirations. 

Turns out he's a petulant brat, who went on strike for more money and then played appallingly.

I'd personally put Steve Waugh up for a candidate, he had true grit and his numbers stack up for most of the time that he and Tendulkar went head to head. But Steve of all people knows that his technique could never match Sachin.

Waugh was like an old jeep, battered and tattered, the top knocked off long ago, but tough enough to keep on bashing through the bush.

Tendulkar was like a limousine cruising the boulevard.

Although, the significance is not lost that the hard-grind true-grit 241 mentioned above was made in Steve Waugh's last Test. Cop that Tugga, you lost that battle, too.

Jacques Kallis has every right to the title. The dude made a lot of runs. There's absolutely no reason why I wouldn't consider him Tendulkar's superior. A bit robotic though.

And there's an out. He could bowl. He might not be the greatest bowler ever to pull boots on but he was bloody handy. So we can stick him in the allrounder category, he's not a batsman really, so he doesn't threaten the precious status. Bloody handy though. And he just went and went. Like a robot.

Kumar Sangakarra certainly has the numbers, but he's only made one hundred in five games in Australia (and five fifties), and since that's the cricket that I get to see, I probably haven't seen enough to make a call. Struggles in South Africa and used to struggle in England. He fixed that recently, but Sachin is retired now.

Sachin smashed it, just about everywhere.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you: Sachin Tendulkar, the best batsman of his generation.

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