You must be wondering why the question on Sachin Tendulkar again. After all, he was the top scorer on an overall disappointing day for India. His 76 of 155 balls inclusive of 13 fours was reiteration of the fact that he can still produce some substantial knocks. The eternal optimist would say that Tendulkar has hit back at critics in the best way he possibly can, by scoring runs out in the middle. But, assuming the same would be highly dangerous for this is just one of the few decent scores that Tendulkar has managed to notch up in the last year.
For one, we need to salute Tendulkar’s resilience, and the manner in which he went about building his innings even considering the fact that the pitch was exceedingly flat. Then again, does Tendulkar have to prove that he can score runs? He has made more than any other player in the history of the game, a record which may never get broken. He has achieved everything a batsman can on an individual level. Still, one is puzzled to find Tendulkar wanting to prove a point to critics at this stage of his career.
The problem with his 76 was not about the number of runs he scored, but the manner in which he went about building the knock. He was clearly at not his fluent best, expectedly, and struggled to get the runs for most part of the innings, but for a brief phase when he managed to find the boundaries at will. Only a player with Tendulkar’s unwavering resolve and dedication could have come up such a painstaking effort under the circumstances. It was clearly a case of the great man trying to prove to everyone who’s saying he’s finished that he is not.
Kudos to Tendulkar for the fighting knock, but then the question arises – is this the Tendulkar we really want to see out on the field. To be extremely blunt, there was no joy watching Tendulkar battle it out in the middle against Monty Panesar and co. Using a solid defence, Tendulkar put across a knock that will at best extend in international career. Those who think, Tendulkar has played himself back into form with his latest knock are mistaken. One only has to take a look at the way he was dismissed to conclude the same -- Going half forward to a well-pitched up delivery, and edging one. It was a good delivery no doubt, but Tendulkar of yore would have come up with an assured stroke.
The sad part about watching Tendulkar bat these days is that instead of enjoy his batting, he is trying to score as many runs as possible. It must be the ultimate objective of any batsman, but the manner of accumulating the same is also important. Ricky Ponting never let go of his aggression till the end and Brian Lara remained extravagant right throughout. In contrast, Tendulkar is extending his career by batting in a manner that his fans are pretty much unaccustomed to.
He may go on to score more runs in the series, and may even be part of the Tests against Australia, but the joy of watching Tendulkar bat may be behind us.
--By A Cricket Analyst