November 30, 2012 6 Comments
My response to GreatBong’s post on Sachin’s retirement and the comparison with Gandhiji.
Somewhere, most people are finding it fashionable to ask for Sachin’s retirement – legacy, quitting at the top of your game, etc. Well, sadly, most of us won’t even know what the top of our own respective game is. Maybe, that’s why, every text book on success asks you to keep challenging yourself for a higher goal. A goal higher than the one you’ve just achieved or you think you can achieve.
First up, I don’t want to pay heed to the comparison. It’s grossly unfair to compare the two. What Gandhi baba was affecting was the future of an entire nation and maybe his outliving his utility could be, well, a debate worthy point. What Sachin is affecting, and apparently adversely, is what a vocal part of the media is parading as ‘his legacy’. Well, first up, his legacy is his choice. Maybe he does not want the legacy that you think he should leave behind. Maybe its right now a joke, but probably true, that he wants to continue to be fit and performing enough to take the cricketing field alongside his son. Maybe after scoring 100 centuries etc, he still cares about that one more century, one more knock, one more extended stay at the crease facing the best of the bowlers. Remember what Punter said about old fashioned cricket meaning that he goes out and stays at the wicket for as long as someone else cannot get him out. More than he cares about his legacy. Maybe his love for the craft his bigger than his love for what you think of him. Just maybe. Remember Pancham? The great artist. The great musician. The one who’s revered. Remember his swan song – 1942 A Love Story. Remember how he got his “3rd and last” film fare after his death. And remember his failures in the last phase of his career. No? Should he have stopped playing music? Composing? To protect his legacy. And not given us Ijaazat? Or 1942? I believe that the world of Hindi music is richer by the coming together of those three geniuses for Ijaazat.
Pro-sport is an individual choice. Competing at the highest level requires many sacrificies that the average reader of any blog is not even capable of. Sachin’s actions may hurt your sentiments by having (apparently) caused a cricketing loss, but beyond that, there is nothing. To enter the game was his choice, to have treated his body with care (or not) in a way that he has outlasted his peer group (and you don’t see him walking out of the field or not fielding at the boundaries or not taking those cheeky singles yet), his love/economics embedded in the game – EVERYTHING is his decision. And hence the legacy that unfortunately exists in your head or mine is our respective problem. When he started, he started playing the name. What he is leaving behind is a legacy alright. BUT a legacy is not just the last chapter of a career that spanned more than two decades. His legacy is that a generation of cricket fans have survived, have not given up, and continue to debate Indian cricket. His legacy is a team that teams around the world don’t write off anymore. His legacy is the joy of watching great cricketing shots every time you pick a Sachin video. And the collective disappointment when he is dismissed. His legacy is the ability to convert the theoretical basics of cricket into geniusly creative implementation that you and I can debate for hours. And like a corporate review system, if we’re constrained by the last patch to decide what the true legacy of this performer is going to be, that AGAIN is our respective problem.
The unfortunate truth somewhere here is that our selection committee has forgotten what they need to do when players are going through a bad patch. However, that’s true of us a nation. Gandhi parivaar should not be touched because they have a legacy. Everything Ambanis touch is corrupt because there’s is a legacy too. Don’t question your parents, because they are, after all, your parents. Asking Dravid, Ganguly or anyone else who was big enough a name to rest has always been a problem. Except Laxman! :-) A related unfortunate truth is that a player should give way to someone who can do the job better than him/her. In this case, we have had a serious dearth of options. If we had options, we would not have discovered the true genius of Laxman, btw. I could agree that Rahane and Mukund and co deserve extended blooding, but that could well be at the cost of a Dhoni, right? Is he performing with the bat? He does not even have a legacy. And worse still, he does not have a technique.
Whether or not there is a set of 11 players beyond this current lot that needs to be looked at is a question that should be asked, in all fairness. But, the debate cannot be about Sachin. Let the debate be about Indian Cricket. Let the debate be about what’s working and what’s not. What can be improved and what cannot be. Who needs to go out and who needs to come in. And if the answer is Sachin, the people in charge need to have the balls to say it.
And yes. If, in there, somewhere, Sachin is still your best bet to go out, take on a quality opposition and make a game of it, then let him play with the peace of mind that he deserves.