Category: Sports and Games

Sachin Tendulkar retires

Sachin Tendulkar had announced his retirement after two Tests against West Indies. The second Test got over on the third day on 16/11/2013 and his Test career came to an end. If the Test had lasted full five days his Test career would have ended on 18/11/2013. His ODI career had ended in 2012.
Soon after the Test got over came the news that Sachin Tendulkar was to get Bharat Ratna. The last and 41st person to receive Bharat Ratna was Bhimsen Joshi in 2009. It was as if the government was waiting for Sachin Tendulkar to retire. At 40 he is the youngest to receive Bharat Ratna.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni was not popular for electing to field after winning the toss. Many had come to Wankhede Stadium to watch Sachin Tendulkar bat. After West Indies were all out for 182 they wanted two Indian wickets to fall quickly so that Sachin Tendulkar can bat. There was cheer when Murali Vijay was out. Sachin Tendulkar was out on 74 on the second day. Those who hoped for a century were disappointed. Then many wanted Mahendra Singh Dhoni to declare so that Sachin Tendulkar can bat again. That did not happen. India went on to score 495. West Indies were all out for 187 in their second Innings and India won the Test by an Innings and 126 runs. It seems West Indians are serious about IPL but not about Tests as there is plenty of money in IPL and comparatively less in Tests.
TV coverage of Sachin Tendulkar over the past weeks was over the top. People who scored centuries against West Indies were ignored. Bowlers who took wickets were ignored. It was Sachin Tendulkar all the way. One report showed someone worshipping Sachin Tendulkar. I doubt whether that was genuine or made for TV. CNN-IBN interviewed Amitabh Bachchan and Lata Mangeshkar on Sachin Tendulkar. You could not escape him on any Indian news channel, and sometimes even on BBC and CNN.
Sachin Tendulkar is the first player to play 200 Tests. He has 51 Test centuries and 15,921 Test runs. He was the first cricketer to score 12,000, 13,000, 14,000 and 15,000 Test runs. His Test career began in November 1989 and ended in November 2013. He was the youngest to play for India. Many Test cricketers started their careers after him and retired before him. When he began his career Prannoy Roy asked Sunil Gavaskar about Sachin Tendulkar, “Will he be a Gavaskar?” Sunil Gavaskar replied “He will be a Tendulkar.”
Sachin Tendulkar broke many records and created new ones. He broke Sunil Gavaskar’s record of 34 Test centuries. He broke Brian Lara’s record of highest Test runs in a career. He broke Steve Waugh’s record of highest Tests.
Sachin Tendulkar did not hit a triple century. Brian Lara hit a triple century and a quadruple century. Donald Bradman had two triple centuries. Virender Sehwag and Christopher Gayle have two triple centuries each. Christopher Gayle disappointed in the two Tests. Virender Sehwag is not in the Test team.
When Gregory Stephen Chappell was India’s Test and ODI coach he wanted five players dropped. Sachin Tendulkar was one of them. The selectors did not agree. Other four were Sourav Ganguly, Virender Sehwag, Harbhajan Singh and Zaheer Khan.
Time will tell how long Sachin Tendulkar’s records will stand. There is a saying “Records are made only to be broken.” In ODIs he was the first batsman to hit 200 in an Innings and that was a record for some years. Virender Sehwag broke it. Surpassing 200 Tests is difficult because it takes many years.
Some want Sachin Tendulkar to be a coach. A great player need not be a great coach. It is for him to decide what he wants to do. He is an MP by nomination. Some cricketers have become MPs by contesting elections. Mohammed Azharuddin is a Congress member. Kirti Azad is a BJP member. Chetan Chauhan was a BJP MP. Imran Khan founded a party. He had some success. He failed to become president or prime minister of Pakistan. Sachin Tendulkar had his restaurant business. Becoming commentator is an option.
On Sunday 17/11/2013 Sachin Tendulkar had a press conference. Later he appeared on many TV channels giving interviews. On Headlines Today two were interviewing him. One was Boria Mazumdar who till sometime back was with Times Now.

Ashes and DRS

England defeated Australia by 14 runs in Trent Bridge Test that concluded on 14/7/2013. The Test was marred by DRS controversy. Marais Erasmus was the third umpire.
Two decisions were wrong. First one was not DRS but referred by field umpire Kumar Dharmasena when Ashton Agar was ruled not out. He was on 6. He went on to score 98 and created many records. Those included highest score by a No. 11 batsman and highest 10th wicket partnership of 163 runs. Australia were 131/9. They overtook England’s first Innings total of 215 runs and ended on 280.
In Jonathan Trott’s case DRS decision was wrong. Lack of side-on Hot Spot was said to be the reason for wrong decision. Marais Erasmus did not go by video replay that showed the bat touching the ball. Jonathan Trott was out on 0.
Stuart Broad was right in not walking when he was on 37 in second Innings. Umpire Aleem Dar ruled him not out. Australia had exhausted their two appeals under DRS. A batsman has to leave if he is wrongly given out by field umpire or on appeal by third umpire. Stuart Broad was out on 65.
The Test was decided by DRS when Alastair Cook used DRS against Brad Haddin who was on 71 and for 10th wicket Australia had put on 65 runs and needed 15 to win. England got it right and won the Test by 14 runs. Australia were all out for 296.
The inadequacies of DRS are exposed. India had opposed DRS. Other countries are happy when it suits them and raise questions when it goes against them. Number of appeals can be increased. Some inadequacies can be set right. But there is no protection if the third umpire knowingly gives a wrong decision due to fixing or some other reason.

Loss at Eden Garden

It is not right to build up any series as grudge series or revenge series. That is what some TV channels did about the Test series against England in India. India had lost 0-4 to England in England in 2011. There was talk of India winning 4-0 against England in India. Gautam Gambhir had said let them come to India.

The series began with Indian victory in Ahmedabad Test. India won by nine wickets but Mahendra Singh Dhoni was not happy about the pitch. He wanted a rank turner. At Wankhede Stadium he got that but lost the Test by 10 wickets. He wanted a rank turner at Eden Garden too despite losing Bombay Test. BCCI was ready to oblige him. Prabir Mukherjee, the curator at Eden Garden, did not oblige. He said the demand for rank turner was illegal, immoral and illogical. He wanted to go on leave. Jagmohan Dalmiya prevailed upon him to continue and Prabir Mukherjee prepared the pitch which gave equal chance to fast bowlers, spin bowlers and batsmen.

Dhoni won the toss third time consecutively and elected to bat. India put on 316. Virender Sehwag’s run out was unnecessary. England batted. Cheteshwar Pujara, fielding at first slip, dropped Alastair Cook when he was on 17. Cheteshwar Pujara usually fields at forward short leg and Virender Sehwag fields at first slip. Alastair Cook was dropped again on 155 by Ishant Sharma off his own bowling. Alastair Cook was run out on 190 at non-strikers end. It was a freak dismissal. He lifted the bat to avoid blocking Virat Kohli’s throw and the ball hit the stumps. It was Alastair Cook’s first run out in Tests.

On the fourth day in the first session England were all out on 523. Monty Panesar was not happy at lbw decision. India batted. Alastair Cook dropped Virender Sehwag. India went to lunch on 86/0.

After lunch Virender Sehwag was out first ball on 49. Cheteshwar Pujara’s run out was unnecessary. Wickets fell in succession. India were 122/6. Ravichandran Ashwin had two lives. Matt Prior missed a stumping chance and dropped him, both times off Monty Panesar. Second time India were 161/8. It could have been 161/9. It was 197/9 and Ishant Sharma was out. India ended the day 239/9.

On 9/12/2012, the fifth day, India were all out on 247. Ashwin remained 91 not out. England had to score 41 runs to win. It seems they were in a hurry. They lost three quick wickets for eight runs. After that Ian Bell and Nick Compton scored runs and England won by seven wickets.

The selectors dropped Harbhajan Singh, Yuvraj Singh and Zaheer Khan for Nagpur Test. Harbhajan Singh had played only in Bombay Test. Yuvraj Singh scored 127 runs in three Tests, more than Sachin Tendulkar (110) and Dhoni (92). Ashwin has not done well as a bowler. He continues in the team for his batting.

India can at best win the next Test and draw the series. TV channels should take a balanced view and should not be jingoistic.