Sachin Tendulkar won the Sir Garfield Sobers ICC Player of the Year award at the awards function in Bangalore last evening. He pipped the challenge from Graeme Swann, Virender Sehwag and Haashim Amla to bag the coveted award for the first time since 2004.
In another month, Sachin Tendulkar would have played international cricket for 21 years. And yet, the fire burns in his belly like never before; he is fitter, leaner and much meaner to the opposition bowling. And the result of the same is the ICC Player of the Year 2009-10.
Most cricketers go through ups and downs in their careers. In fact this is something that can be said about every sportsman. Roger Federer and Pete Sampras had their time under the sun before they begun to face problems. Sampras never won the French Open while Federer has won it once, but has struggled otherwise. Michael Schumacher’s comeback has been jarring, mostly thanks to the car, but one can also say that he was included in the pantheon of greats due to the machine. Tiger Woods’ fall from the grace was more to do with his off the field activities, but it has clearly affected his on-field play in recent times.
Tendulkar has not been no different from the aforementioned greats. There have been ups and there have been those few downs; the injuries, the lack of runs, the poor runs as a captain, the criticism at having ‘unnecessarily’ extended his career amongst others. And yet, Tendulkar has come out unscathed each time, stronger and with a larger appetite to perform.
Till about one year back, Tendulkar’s form had been decent, but not extraordinarily great. His ambition to play in 2011 World Cup hinged a lot on how he would manage to keep himself fit. Irrespective of his form leading up to the tournament, one always knew that the Indian selectors would not drop him, but in the ensuing year Tendulkar has earned the right to be there.
What remains to be seen now is whether Tendulkar can maintain this red-hot form into the World Cup as well and whether that changes things around from the perspective of his retirement. Tendulkar has never caught the bait and revealed his intentions or retirement plans, which could only mean that the end of the World Cup campaign for India next year will be watched with baited breath by most Indian fans.
It is difficult not to visualise of cricket without Tendulkar and in more ways than one it is a hard proposition to take. Right from the fans to those commercially associated with the game – like the BCCI, the broadcasters, website owners and media guys, his retirement will definitely have an effect on the bottomline. How quickly will the Indians resume following the game as religiously as during times of his peak will remain to be seen.
About the Author
Written by Suneer Chowdhary
A cricket-aspirant at the age of 12, tried my hand at pace bowling, but those were the days of India aspiring for spinners! So, chose the next best option to profess my love towards cricket; became a cricket writer instead