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Sachin Tendulkar… Staying away from controversies and sensationalism. Photo Courtesy: Abhijit Banare

Sachin Tendulkar’s autobiography ‘Playing It My Way’ was the most anticipated cricket book of the year. A few snippets released before the launch did heighten the excitement, but the book fails to maintain it as it is largely uncontroversial. However, it can be a fascinating read in patches for a cricket fan, who gets a peek into the psyche of the champion batsman, writes Nishad Pai Vaidya.

If you are expecting the Little Master to bare his heart on the controversial matters that surrounded Indian cricket during his playing days,  this isn’t your book. In the lead-up to the launch of the autobiography, the snippets regarding Greg Chappell’s tenure created quite a storm, which certainly heightened the expectations of the fans.  However, Sachin Tendulkar’s ‘Playing It My Way,  stays away from controversial subjects mostly, and doesn’t have too many big revelations that would make headlines. However, coming from the man himself, there are quite a few stories discussed, which weren’t public knowledge in the past. If you are a genuine cricket fan, you may enjoy parts of the book.

There are some parts of the book that are compelling, especially where Tendulkar describes the art of batting. He has discussed how he read bowlers’ actions and judged what would come next. The most fascinating part is where he explains how he read the doosra and made adjustments to it. For a cricket lover, this information is gold-dust. It keeps you wanting to read more.

Apart from that, Tendulkar has also spoken about the pressure of being so famous in a cricket-mad nation. He sheds light on how difficult it was for him to move out from his home and enjoy some of life’s simple pleasures with his family, while in India. There are also many passages that speak about his pain and anguish in times of injury. He even confesses to crying after a surgery believing that he was going to miss an upcoming Test series. There is also that cheeky side that comes out in this book. Tendulkar has shared some hilarious anecdotes from his playing days. Such tales make you want to keep going.

Tendulkar hasn’t discussed the infamous match-fixing scandal at all, and has merely condemned it in the book. While he has said that the players wanted to restore credibility, he hasn’t spoken about the difficulty and how much Indian cricket had suffered in that time. A reader, who would have wanted to know his point of view about the whole affair, would be left disappointed.

Taking the Chappell saga away, there are two other parts where he has been candid. While writing about the Multan Test, where Rahul Dravid declared when Tendulkar was unbeaten on 194, the man has described the hurt and tried to put his point across. One also gets a peak into the discussions that took place after that controversial declaration. Then there’s the part where he vented his feelings is about the Monkeygate scandal. Through the book he maintains his side of the version and also expresses anger at being doubted.

The other thing missing from this book is detail from his years of struggle. As a teenager, Tendulkar spent hours practicing and batted in numerous games. Most of what is written in the book is well known and one would have hoped for more detail in this book. Only 30 pages have gone into his struggle to the top. Perhaps a little more about his childhood and those years would have made it better.

So, in bits and pieces, this book does have the elements  which his millions of fans would be looking for. Unfortunately for the journalists, who would be looking for headlines may not find too many. It is not as candid as Ricky Ponting’s ‘At Close of Play’, though there are some new details shared in this book. If there is one thing that stands out, it is Tendulkar’s passion for the game, which can be sensed with the way he has spoken of his hunger for the game.

Tendulkar does say in his prologue that he isn’t one for sensationalism. That is perhaps a disclaimer before the book.

Complete coverage of Sachin Tendulkar’s autobiography Playing it My Way

(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_45)