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God must continue to serve the country

Gokul Krishnamurthy Mumbai | Updated on February 20, 2011

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Indian batsmen have slaughtered the Bangladeshi bowling attack in the first match of the 2011 World Cup, thanks largely to the irrepressible Sehwag. But not everyone is happy.

A: It's just Bangladesh.

And more importantly, B: God didn't score too many.

God, a.k.a. Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar, also got out cheaply in the last game, a warm up match against New Zealand. Fans simply cannot digest it when God gets run out in a mix up, even if it's not the other batsman's fault. Sehwag will not be forgiven even if he went on to score, as he did, a fantastic 175. God can do no wrong. If he errs, he can't be God, can he?

In a recent interview, Mohamed Azharuddin, now a Congress MP, refused comment on Tendulkar's captaincy. Mr Azharuddin has given several interviews in the past, to a host of media persons. The first real critical viewpoint on a former fellow team member, made as it was through a refusal to comment, has come after the former Indian captain has entered parliament. Let us not forget that Azharuddin himself was embroiled in match fixing controversies before his political foray.

Cut to Mumbai. There's news of Tendulkar's plans to build a personal gym as part of his house facing regulatory issues. One also remembers the hue and cry around his Ferrari. He's an icon, a national hero, and more. Shouldn't we just let him do what he wants? Bend the rules a bit? Not yet.

Squeaky-clean, inspirational, patriotic, peerless Sachin Tendulkar has to serve the country beyond the cricket field to truly leverage the equity of the power brand that he - and the people around him - have created. On the “clean” quotient, he's possibly the equivalent of a Dr Manmohan Singh.

Yes, brand Manmohan is struggling to keep that image intact. If anyone can, our cricket God can help reinstate our faith in politics.

Published on February 19, 2011

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