Let's savour Tendulkar's twilight brilliance than worry about his 100th century

Sachin Tendulkar’s opponents are playing every kind of mind games to prevent him from getting to the landmark © Getty Images


By Amrut Thobbi


Pele, arguably the greatest football player of all time, must have been under immense scrutiny four decades ago in the same way Sachin Tendulkar is right now. Playing for the South American football club Santos, Pele achieved the unthinkable against Vasco da Gama at the Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro by scoring his thousandth goal – an unprecedented feat in football.


Pele, then 29, could not get to the much-anticipated milestone easily. He faced many obstacles before achieving the stupendous feat. If Tendulkar’s opponents are playing every kind of mind games to prevent him from getting to the landmark, Pele’s opponents were more physical in stopping him in the tracks. In the Santos-Vasco match, one of the Santos’ players sent in a cross to Pele which a Vasco defender headed it into his own goal instead of allowing Pele to score the record goal!


Vasco da Gama players attempted many such tricks to stop Pele from scoring, including tripping him in the penalty box. But the move led to their downfall as the referee signaled a penalty. And then the inevitable happened. Taking the penalty, Pele scored his 1000th goal as 65,000 fans in the Maracanã Stadium and, indeed, the whole of Brazil erupted in ecstasy. The moment all Brazilians were waiting for was now a reality


It would come as a balm for tormented Indian cricket fans enduring the pain of seeing their team suffer three humiliating and successive defeats in Australia should Tendulkar get to his hundred in the Adelaide Test. The nation will erupt in joy, and one can be sure that the entire media machinery – television, print and internet – will be awash with Tendulkarmania.


Tendulkar has come tantalisingly close to scoring that elusive hundred no less than three times in the past few months. He fell lbw to Tim Bresnan for 91 runs in the fourth Test against England at Kennington Oval, was caught by Darren Sammy in the slip off Ravi Rampaul at Mumbai against the West Indies when six runs away from the landmark. And in this ongoing series against Australia, he scored 80 in the second Test at Sydney, besides 73 in the first Test at Melbourne.


Tendulkar is too great a player to be kept away from scoring his 100th hundred, but it’s amazing to read and hear experts queuing up to advice the great man. One wonders if Tendulkar is listening to those voices. If anything, Tendulkar would be more concerned about India’s sensational dip in fortunes and will be thinking of ways to revive it. The landmark, as and when it comes, will be incidental. History tells that great men who have achieved the unthinkable have seldom thought about the end result; they love the process more than the destination.


For now, let’s enjoy the maestro’s rare brilliance in his twilight years than spoil things by worrying about a milestone.


(Amrut Thobbi, an engineering graduate now pursuing Masters in journalism, is an ardent cricket fan. His passion for writing inspired him to give up a sales and marketing job, which he does not regret. Bywriting on cricket, he wants to relive his dream of becoming a cricketer. He has also worked as a freelance writer in education and technology sectors)