N. Ramakrishnan
N. Ramakrishnan

N. Ramakrishnan writes on infrastructure, renewable energy, cement and automobiles, and, of late, entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship. Ramki is passionate about journalism; loves nature, reading, bird-watching, photography, politics and urban development.

N Ramakrishnan

Why this obsession with being great?

| Updated on November 19, 2013 Published on November 19, 2013

Just because you don’t consider, say, a Sachin great, in no way takes away the credit from Sachin’s achievements.   -  THE HINDU

Let me confess right at the beginning that I am not a great fan of Sachin. I used to idolise G.R. Vishwanath, of an era long gone by, then liked watching Dilip Vengsarkar, V.V.S. Laxman and Rahul Dravid. The joy of watching these players bat was more important than the runs on the score board. In effect, the result hardly mattered to me as long as the game was interesting.

As to bowlers, India’s spin quartet, Michael Holding, Andy Roberts, Courtney Walsh, Dennis Lillee and Abdul Qadir, were a few I liked to watch.

That I was not a fan of Sachin did not necessarily mean I disliked him. He was undoubtedly good – not that he needs my certificate. But, what I couldn’t stand was this constant drumming by his supporters and fans that he was the greatest. That I vehemently disagree. Not that I believe someone else was the greatest, but I find it difficult to compare players of different eras.

I have watched matches on television when Viv Richards was taking the bowlers to the cleaners. In that mood I doubt if even Adam Gilchrist could come anywhere near Richards’ destructive abilities. Richards would let everyone know who the master was, once he stepped out of the pavilion on to the ground; most times sleeves unrolled and buttoned at the wrist, jaws furiously worked away on the chewing gum, his muscular arm twirling the SS bat and West Indies cap jauntily parked on his head.

My father has seen a lot more cricket than I could ever hope to. And, for him Garry – Garry Sobers, who else? – was the ultimate. So, every discussion or argument would end something like this: “But then nobody could do it better than Garry!” And, my father uses this argument-ending line even now, decades after Sir Garfield Sobers stopped playing cricket.

I also wonder why for us Indians, it always has to be “so-and-so is the greatest”. A mere he or she was good is good enough. Just because you don’t consider, say, a Sachin great, in no way takes away the credit from Sachin’s achievements. He was good and we should be happy that he provided us the joy of watching him destroy bowling attacks around the world, the way he did.

Would Sachin himself have liked to retire against this West Indies team? I definitely would not think so. This team from the Caribbean resembled one of the many teams that play on either Azad Maidan or Shivaji Park, in Mumbai. Nothing more. Agreed over the last couple of years, Sachin’s reflexes had slowed down and he was found wanting by even the type of bowlers he would have effortlessly whacked earlier. That he continued playing till now showed more his tenacity than anything else.

Which brings me to another point – why is it that most people be it in sports or politics or any other field find it difficult to simply fade away? Ideally, Sachin should have retired after India won the 2011 World Cup. He would have then gone out on a high. What he played after the World Cup was, in my opinion, mere statistics.

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Published on November 19, 2013
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