Friday, November 06, 2009

The pitfalls of individual brilliance

Last night I was lucky enough to bear witness to one of the most amazing innings in international cricket ever seen, Sachin Tendulkar, chasing down an intimidating 351 on a docile Hyderabad wicket likened the art of batting to that of a Karl Lagerfeld creation on a Milanese catwalk.

One week ago a team mate of mine and avid Sachin fan vehemently pointed out that he would give up the love of a good woman to spend his time with 'the Little Master,' to which I laughed whole-heartedly in his face, however after last night's blistering 175, I think I can see his point.

Despite Sachin's heroics, Team India still managed to fall short in what was an electrifying game of cricket, and something the game was crying out for. This begs the question of, what next for the Indian team? Many will again question their middle order and their inability to build the game around a solid innings such as Tendulkar's. However, many keen observer's will have duly noted the drop catches and inexcusable ground fielding from the Indians last night. Shaun Marsh would have no doubt been laughing, after being gifted his first and most unconvincing century in his short career. So before the critics come out to feast on India's effort with the bat, remember the capabilities of Sehwag and Yuvraj, and more importantly the power of Captain Dhoni and the talented Gambhir. 

Sometimes watching cricket can be a lot more than the result and the mundane repetitiveness of ball after ball, last night once again re-assured me of why we watch this game and couldn't help but empathise with Tendulkar's feelings, reminding me of my still and boyhood hero, one, Brian Charles Lara. Whether it was in Test cricket or the shorter format, Lara, like Tendulkar, carried his team with amazing results individually, but the feeling of team success and victory forever seems to elude them both. 

The two most successful batsmen in contemporary cricket, without consistent team success throughout their careers makes me wonder whether they should have pursued careers in tennis or golf, allowing them to soak up the individual accolades they deserve. However, as the world has panned out, they are cricketers and feed off the success of their team whilst consistently being the major contributors. 

Therefore, as a neutral observer, I implore with the rest of Team India to give their all in the remaining two matches and give Sachin his 'just deserts' after last night's amazing lone hand. The last thing cricket needs is a retired Sachin Tendulkar with a heavy conscience as a result of minimal team success. India are the new emerging superpower of cricket on the field as well as off it. But talk is cheap, the time is now and one can only hope that their talent and ability is fulfilled and does not wither away like the West Indies of today. If not for themselves, it is time Team India gave the fans something else to cheer about besides Sachin's milestones.  

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