Sachin answers. To all doubters and non-believers. First part of many on “Glory Worshippers”

Sachin is the greatest, no GREATEST, player that many people have seen or will ever see. He is arguably the second in the all-time list. And thats no mean feat for a short, pudgy guy with a back problem.

His record in ODI’s is incomparable. Now if anyone is going to throw a Sourav Ganguly statistic in here, I am going to pound him. Actually, I will save that for a later post. Despite his unsuccessful stints in captaining India, there is no doubt in my mind that he has a cricketing brain like no other. It is because he is so great, that he didnt make a great captain. And that is his shortcoming. You see this happen a lot in football(soccer). Great players fail many times at managerial positions, because they do not understand mediocrity. There was a great article about this a couple of years back, I will see if I can trace it. It talks about Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex succeeding, while great footballing names failed. Of course, there are always counter examples, more in cricket than in football.

Clive Lloyd, Imran Khan, Azhar were excellent cricketers who made great captains. Ricky Ponting, one of my favorite players in the world behind Sachin is not on this list just because he has an easier job. The Aussie team is not your average team, with drive, professionalism and talent like no other, with not even an ounce of mediocrity in there. In a way Ponting has it easy, but of course to manage all that talent, you need something. And he has it.

Back to Sachin. There were so many people calling for his head, and saying he was over around 2001. This has continued on a regular basis, especially in 2004 and 2005. To all these people I say SHAME ON YOU. Here is a guy who is the greatest thing that ever happened to India, let alone Indian cricket. And while everyone around him flounders, he delivers. And occasionally succumbs to the pressure. And you doubt him and his skill? He changed his game from being aggressive to a more sedate pace. His destructive capacity did not change, but he started to play it safe because there was no one else in the team that could carry the mantle or could he depend on. And is that his fault? He sacrified his game for the greater good. Apart from Dravid, there is really no one in the team that is dependable. That is changing slowly, with Dhoni and Yuvraj. But all these years, it was Sachin and Sachin alone carrying the team.

Where were you when he single-handedly obliterated Akhtar and co in the 2002 world cup? When he returned from his father’s bereavement and scored 140-odd against Kenya? And recently, a 76-ball hundred against the Windies?

Sport is overrun by glory worshippers. Yeah, you all know who you are. I do not care if you people are fickle about anything – but dont you dare do that to Sachin. So, get behind him, coz whoever else is on the team, it does not matter. This World Cup, if Sachin delivers, will be ours. And no one else has the capacity to do that for Team India.

To come in this series: Glory worshippers and Manchester United; Sourav Ganguly and what a bad cricketer he is; The artistry of VVS Laxman

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