Sachin Tendulkar’s 200th Test overshadows relevance of India-West Indies series

While West Indies coach Ottis Gibson has made a statement saying West Indies can beat India, the frenzy in India is around Sachin Tendulkar (above) and his impending retirement from the game © Getty Images

Sachin Tendulkar’s farewell series and 200th Test has overshadowed virtually everything ranging from the India-Australia series to the MCA elections to the Indian Premier League (IPL) spot-fixing controversy. However, nothing has been as ignored as the series against West Indies and its relevance has been. Aayush Puthran feels amid all the deserving celebrations for the Little Master, it will be unfair to overlook the fact that a serious game of cricket is on.

It is back to good old days of watching Tom and Jerry on TV, where all one cared for was to enjoy looking at the cat and mouse have fun. The art of cartoon-making didn’t really bother us as kids. With the clock speeding up to take us to adulthood, one man takes us back to school — Sachin Tendulkar. With West Indies set to tour India for a series of two Tests and three One-Day Internationals (ODIs), the relevance of the series itself has been overshadowed by one man’s show.

In what is a historic feat deserving celebration for Indian and world cricket fans, as one of the greatest is set to go past not just a milestone hitherto not achieved, but also put his act on display for the final time.

It is not the first time that cricket fans will be flocking to the ground just to watch one man in action. A certain William Gilbert Grace ensured that happened even in the 19th century. And for Sachin; he has witnessed this phenomenon ever since he played cricket in the Mumbai maidans.

But one has to hold back a bit and wonder with what mindset are the West Indies coming into the series. For a nation that has been attempting to revive its erstwhile dominance and are out to prove a point to the cricketing world, wouldn’t it be degrading to ignore their presence altogether.

India are undeniably the superpowers of world cricket and it would mean a lot for a team like the West Indies to do well in the country.

West Indies coach Ottis Gibson made a statement one would expect before any tour when he said, “We are not saying we cannot beat India, but we know it is going to be tough. The last time we went to India, we had a couple of inexperienced guys but we put up a good show. So hopefully this time with a bit more experience, we can go one better and win the series. There is no reason why we can’t.” 

It is nothing unusual, but it brings one back to reality, that well a serious cricket tour is on and if not on this part of the world, the visitors have their priorities set right.

Amid all the deserving frenzy and celebration, it would be unfair if the West Indians are not acknowledged for their presence and strength. As no one but Sachin Tendulkar himself said it best, “I cannot be made to look bigger than the game.”

(Aayush Puthran is a reporter with CricketCountry. Mercurially jovial, pseudo pompous, perpetually curious and occasionally confused, he is always up for a light-hearted chat over a few cups of filter kaapi!)