Sachin: The unmaking of a god

Published: March 17, 2012

Whether you like the guy or not, you have to admit that he has done stuff that most ordinary mortals can only dream of. PHOTO: AFP

Tendulkar’s achievements are truly remarkable. Whether you like the guy or not, you have to admit that he has done stuff that most ordinary mortals can only dream of. Yes, I am also hinting that Tendulkar is a god, or at least has god-like status. I am sure many cricketers would willingly give their left arm to be half as good as he is, and it would still be a dramatic improvement for them.

The most number of  Tests played, the most number of ODI’s played, the most Test runs, the most ODI runs, the most Test hundreds and the most ODI hundreds. He has won a world cup, he has captained his country and he probably has one of the longest careers of all time, now well into his third decade as a cricketer.

There really isn’t a lot left that he can do, unless he wants to get 50 ODI hundreds now that he is just one short – oops did I just give him another reason to not retire?

However I still wish he had not hung around so long to get the hundreth hundred. A year ago, when he finally got his dream of winning a cricket world cup, shortly after getting 99 hundreds, he should have called it a day and he really would have retired as a god. Untarnished, unblemished and untouchable.

If he had done that, we would have been frantically wondering why he did it. Why didn’t he play just one more series, or just one more match? Right? That is all it would have taken! He should have gone for it!

There would have been the magical romance of perfection with that minor flaw that adds to its appeal, that makes fallible humans all that much more admirable than the most impeccable of robots.

However no, he couldn’t handle it, he couldn’t make that decision of picking the right time to decide when it was time to quit, and go while the going was good. The long drawn out, and often painful search for the hundredth ton was not something I enjoyed watching. The constant failure was not how I wanted to remember Tendulkar. At least for me, it proved beyond a doubt that Tendulkar is anything but a god.

Like it or not, when we talk about Tendulkar, the name of Don Bradman always comes up. Maybe because the Don is the only other cricketer to have an achievement that no other batsman got even remotely close to, a Test batting average of 99.94, which would have been an even 100 had he scored four runs in his last innings instead of three; an average that would have been an even hundred had the Don stuck around for a few more Tests to make up for that – or not.

Maybe if Bradman had decided to stick around to try and get the runs for an average of 100 or more, he might have got some more bad scores and actually ended up with less? Who knows? We never will know whether the Don had that fatal flaw in him or not, will we? But we know that about Tendulkar now.


Khurram Baig

Business Editor at The Express Tribune. Baig has worked at Dawn News as a host and news anchor and was city editor at The News. He writes on sports and current affairs.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Saad Aziz

    the article is truely remarkable and so trueRecommend

  • Pakistan politics

    love u sachinRecommend

  • Sinclair

    I am happy that you can console yourself with that. And anyway, calling a human being god (even with a small g) while being a muslim – isnt that some sort of a contradiction? For me, Sachin has always been human with his flaws. And that is what I love about him.Recommend

  • Junkie

    My fondest memories of cricket include Sachin playing against Pakistan. Sorry Immi bhai I wasn’t even born when you won the world cup.Recommend

  • Stewie Griffin

    In my opinion Sachin Tendulkar is selfish and he’s not a match-winner, but I still think he’s one of the greatest batsmen if not the greatest of our time.

    It’s time for him to retire.Recommend

  • Reddy

    @Stewie Griffin: unfortunately Stewie Griffin found to be hiding behind fancy name to get some or any kind attention form his lonely lunatic looser lotRecommend

  • Fahim

    Now there is problem,, why cant let him decide when it is right time for him to go… why does all of us need to tell him. going by the last 33 innings statistics it is not that horrible as suggested here, he got decent scores and he still bats very good. If he can enjoy his game, why cant we enjoy. believe me there would not be any Sachin Tendulkar (and I am against his ‘God status’ he is just human), so lets enjoy the exquisite timing and silk batting as far as it last, for once there would be no Sachin Tendulkar again!!!Recommend

  • rew

    Jealous much ? I smell something burning. Just because pakistan hasn’t and will never produce a Sachin or a Rahul. The difference between a rahul / sachin and a pakistani player is THE LEVEL OF INTEGRITY. No wonder the whole world respects indian cricketers while pakistani cricketers are shunned.Recommend

  • azam khan

    Excellent KB,,,Excellent 10 DulkarRecommend

  • Sabih Zafar Ullah

    Only if he played for the country and not for the century. One selfish god is not good enough to win a match for you; 11 weak but selfless humans are, Bangladesh proved that the other day.Recommend

  • SAK

    @rew, by your comment you have proved that you are an indian.

    Brian Lara is the greatest player of my time, no one can touch his class.Recommend

  • Mohammad Usama

    Very Good Article!
    nicely written…….

    but Sachin got his century Atlast against Bangladesh, thats true, ya its quite true!!
    he is called the Little Master (maybe thats why……i just suppose….:))….)

    this merely highlights the fact the he should have thrown the towel quite earlier and doesnt undermine the great batsman he wasRecommend

  • Fahad Raza

    Let it be a graceful exist or Sachin. Recommend

  • hariharmani

    Good column,it is not good to compare sportsman of different era,especially of before 1947 and now.There are too many variable and they are in stark contrast.Rule change,equipment change,the ground reality,the financial incentives,the quality of opposition,and the the quality of physical fitness of the players.In olden days,even Pakistan was not a cricketing nation when Don played,there was no protection gears like today,if you got hit with ball from,Larwood,Lindwall,Truman Frank Tyson you would not play again if not dead by then.The players were all ordinary working class folks,not professionals,they played fewer matches,Don played in all 52 test matches.and he scored 29 century with 99.99 average,no one comes close to him,he is so far ahead,he scored 3 triple century and all of them in less than one day,he was rapid fire machine,neither spin or extrme pace,speed made any difference.Once set he was never dismissed without a century.I belong to that generation,I know what I’m talking about,they all smoked,they had no clue about health,physical fitness and personnel trainers like today.It is like comparing apples and oranges,you can not compare because shorter boundary,drastic rule changes and better lightening and less chance being decl’ out’due to advanced technology,modern players hold all the advantages,we should not even go there to compare.Let the mythical Rod Laver,Jim Brown,Jim Thorpe Ty cobb,Babe Ruth and Sir Donald Bradman,Pele’ REST IN PEACE.They were in fact ‘Superman”.Beyond time,like K.L. Saigal” ,AMAR”.One more name Mohamud Ali.Recommend

  • Zeta

    You have pathetic below par bowling standards (dont you love being veggie). and your cricketers have no respect outside the territory of india. Except Sachin, No one is remarkable enough to be remembered after 10-15 years.

    your comment is nothing but a blind nationalistic rantRecommend

  • Anoop

    Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara aren’t too different when it comes to the teams that they play.

    Sachin by his sheer brilliance would have set up the match for you, but the other Team members, early on in his career, were not able to capitalize on them. That has been Lara’s story the second half of his career.

    At the end of the day it is wrong to expect one among 11 to win you matches. You need others too. Recommend

  • http://Delhi Amit

    @Sabih.. he has always played for the team and for the country and I can understand why people like you cannot see it. Grow up.. he has given more to Indian cricket than any one can even think of.
    And to author it is his call when he wants resign. He can still keep on playing.. players half good as him are still playing in other teams.Recommend

  • rew

    How come rahul dravid was invited for bradman’s oration ? Why wasn’t a pakistani player invited ? Have you even read what the world has to say about dravid ? Recommend

  • mind control


    No one is remarkable enough to be remembered after 10-15 years.

    I am sure the ‘fixers’ will be remembered for ever. In the court records of UK at least.

  • Sabih Zafar Ullah

    @Amit The slow batting during Sachin’s 90’s cost India the crucial 20-30 runs that would have decided the fate of the match. Think again, this time try using the brain rather than the heart.Recommend

  • harkol

    This article is so wrong.

    It is like asking a great warrior to laydown his weapon, when going is good. Warrior will fight on till he drops dead or looses big.

    Think about it. You figure what you want to do in life by the time you are 11, got to do that by the time you are 16, and have done it all by age 38. Would you say, let me keep doing what I am good at till I can’t do it anymore, or would you just say I am done?

    It depends on how you look at things. MF Husain kept painting even in his 90s. Azim Premji, one of the richest men in India (and world) still works 16-18hr days though he’s 66years old. Not because anyone would grudge them if they hung their boots, but because they ‘LOVED’ what they were doing.

    Tendulkar hasn’t known a life beyond batting for all his life. He can’t even remember a life where he wasn’t facing bowlers. So, how easy would it be for him to give it all up, just because some idiots think he should!!?

    I think he should go on till he feels too tired to play the game. He’s done enough for India and the game to owe him that.You don’t tell a great warrior to give up, he decides how he’ll go down.Recommend

  • abhi

    @ all talking about poor indian bowling, Your bowlers couldn’t defend even 330 score, what about it?
    Was this a fixed match too?

    agree that we cannot compare batsmen from two different era, you neven know if Sir Bradman would have made so many hundereds if Jonty Rohdes was fielding in covers.Recommend

  • Saty

    @ harkol – very apt comments.

    I am sure the author of this column must have watched today’s match. It was the slow & failing Tendulkar who set up the base for the victory along with Kohli & RohitRecommend

  • Babbar

    @Zeta, our players are going to be remembered for having lots of cash and occasionally chewing the ball because they were so hungry during the game and then lying about it later.Recommend

  • K B Kale

    What the author of this article has written would have been meaningful if Sachin had retired immediately after his 100th ton, but he has no such intention. He says it is selfish to retire when you are on top of your ability.
    So what the last year in his career represents is just a bad patch in his long & illustrious career.
    And so, all the arguments of the author only show his not-so-well-concealed jealousy & writing something ‘different’.
    I am happy that he didn’t end up like the Great Don & did hit his 100th ton!Recommend

  • patroitindian

    Yes i am agree with you…because ASIF,SALMAN BUTT,AAMER are more popular in world cricket….atleast shame on yourself…@Zeta: Recommend

  • hassan

    Most hated Indian in Pakistan is not Bal Thackeray or Advani or Modi….but it is Sachin Tendulkar !

    This speaks volumes about the calibre of people populating the Land of the Pure !Recommend

  • happy

    Keep your silly opinions to yourself. While I agree that we may not have produced Sachin or Rahul, But dont forget, India has also produced Azharuddin and Ajay Jadeja. There are black sheeps everywhere. While there may have been some instances of corruption in Pakistan, but no political party has fielded any match fixer as a candidate in the general election, unlike India, where your main political party ( Currently in power) fielded Azharuddin and thanks to “THE LEVEL OF INTEGRITY” of you Indians, he is now an HONOURABLE MEMBER OF INDIAN NATIONAL PARLIAMENT. So Stop taking this higher moral ground. Recommend

  • patroitindian

    To correct you…let me clear you Azhar and jadeja has not been judged guilty till yet…Recommend

  • malik


    Azhar had no chances of winning anywhere due to his poor integrity levels; that is why he was fielded in a muslim-majority constituency where the idea of right and wrong is always blurred.

    Because, Muslims have always believed in the concept ‘If he belongs to Ummah, He can do no wrong .” Same goes for Saddam, Gaddafi, Idi Amin, Osama, Assad etc etc.

    Azhar getting elected reflects poorly on whom, you can decide.Recommend

  • latestnews

    Sachin Tendulker is a real acid for world of Cricket,.I think its right time to leave the cricket because he achieve everything.Recommend

  • hariharmani

    @patroitindian: Only person found guilty in India,if I think,if my memory serves right,Nathuram Godse,rest are never found guilty,if you know some one beside that,please let me know,i will update my file.Have a nice day.Recommend

  • Latestnews

    Sachin Tendulker had made a history in the cricket worldt. I think he will left the cricket after making 50 century in the One day matches.
    latest news PakistanRecommend

  • patroitindian

    This is what the fact about pakistan..i have posted something about the corrupt president of it and they have posted it in complete..shame on this ….and to update your knowledge..let me remind you..dawood and lot of mullas also found guilty but they are ruling over you @hariharmani: @Happy…look who is talking..most corrupted person is president of your pakistan..Recommend

  • happy

    You conveniently ignored the fact that my emphasis was on the congress paarty giving the party ticket to someone who stands banned for life by your cricket board. Question of winning or losing arises only after one is contesting in the fray as a candidate. Moreover there is no single factor which decides winnability, being from same community being a very important one of them due to emotional values. However, when a national mainstream party gives ticket to somebody ignoring his personal integrity just on this winnability logic, it reflects poorly on the system as a whole.
    And since you are trying to make it a HINDU- MUSLIM debate, Does’nt it prove that even today the two nation theory holds good, as you have to field a muslim candidate for muslim majority constituency, even if he is corrupt.

    Incidently, I watched in the news that in your Uttar pardesh state a known history sheeter (some raja bhai, by name) has been made “Minister for jail”. Now this reflects poorly on whom, you can decide!!Recommend

  • Lone-ranger

    I thought this blog was about cricket, and not about India or Pakistan. Recommend

  • Cynical


    You have nailed it.In a bad day Pakistani cricket fans might well accept Bal Thakerey,Modi or any of the hindu zealots, but Sachin Tendulkar, never.He is selfish, plays for himself, not a team man and so on.
    As if it hurts Pakistan cricket! What a bunch of hypocrites!Recommend