Sunday, November 20, 2011

Expectation of Sachin’s 100th ton – How tough it is to remain at top and bow whilst at top !!


All good things come to an end,  with age withers performance and it is extremely difficult to time one’s retirement and bow down when still in peak.  When one quits, people should ask - ‘why’ and why now  and not express a sigh of relief that it has come at last.

Though the arena of sports looks extremely lucrative,  one has to remember that the career of a sportsperson is short and one has to make most in the short span of shine.  The games puts them through undue physical demand,  calls for mental toughness and could leave them debilitated in the end.  The fame might fade faster and the money also could melt away.  When we grew up, Wimbledon was dominated by Bjorn Borg – the numero Uno at that time who won 11 grandslam titles between 1974-1981.  It was a shocking news that a person who earned millions four decades ago, became bankrupt, sold his house and was about to auction even the Wimbledon trophies.  Perhaps he is not the lonely sportsperson to have such a career-graph. !

Now, for the Indian cricket fan, whether Sachin would complete his 100th ton at Mumbai is the main concern – is it really a landmark – why combine two different forms of games – a shorter version of 50 overs and Tests and count on this as a feat – no doubt 50 centuries in a format is a tremendous achievement and unlikely to be achieved by anybody in future.   Sachin has 15048 runs in 182 Tests and 18111 runs in 453 ODI matches – 51 in Tests and 48 on One dayers – still more expectations…………. Consider this.

India started playing in One dayers in 1974 and only in 1983 came the first century of an Indian – the epic 175 n.o. of Kapil Dev.  In the early 1990s, Krishnamachari Srikkanth with 4 centuries was the most century maker.   In later 1970s and 1980s – all records were that of Sunil Manohar Gavaskar, the most prolific run machine of that era.   Sadly, those days, Indian Team was not winning and many of his centuries were in vain or were in dull drawn matches.  His epic 221 was not one – a great chase at Oval in 1979.  Records after records were created – he was the first Indian to complete 5000 in Test cricket and first from any country to complete 10000.   When  he completed his 22nd, there were jokes in vernacular magazines, that when we are living in 21st Century, little master has moved on to 22nd !!!!  - at the start of 1980s, only 3 were above him and that of Sir Donald Bradman with 29 was considered the highest scalable peak.  He was the epitome of intense concentration, discipline, dedication – would never get out to a false stroke and would never leave a bad ball unpunished.    He ended up with 34 centuries and 10122 runs in 125 Tests. In ODI (there were some controversies including his 36 not out of 60 overs in the inaugural WC 1975 under the Captaincy of S. Venkaraghavan) he made 3092 runs with a solitary century.    He ended his career with a great 96 in Bangalore though India lost.   Perhaps the best organized defense in the history of Cricket.  But where are his records now ?   - did you know that he started his Ranji career  with a fifth-ball duck against Mysore.

Elsewhere Pat Cummins with his sudden rise to stardom seemingly is enjoying success against South Africa, bowling fast and taking wickets.    The  nearby New Zealand is trying to emulate the success path.   Somewhere read that Kiwis have not won a Test match in Australia since 1985.  NZ have picked up an uncapped left arm pace bowler – Trent Boult in their squad.  Trent Boult is only 22  and had been there already in 2009 after a strong show in U19 WC in 2008.

Coming back a sad end seem to beckon the smart punter, who clearly is no longer part of the best XI of Aussie.  He has perhaps achieved everything but still the end does appear gloomy.  At   Capetown he made 8 & 0.  Here are New Wanderers he went without scoring in the first innings.   Towards the twilight of one’s career, every failure pushes them harder and there is lurking fear that he may not be there against the New Zealand.   When it comes it will be a sad end to Ricky Thomas Ponting who has made more than 12000 runs in 155 tests with 39 centuries and 13686 runs in 370 Onedayers with 3o tons.
Ponting bowls (photo: cricinfo.com)

WI continue to be  plagued – not only their losses are rankling but a woman cricketer Tremayne Smartt  has been suspended by the ICC from all cricket and cricket-related activities for five months after being found guilty of violating an anti-doping rule.  She  has played 15 ODIs and 12 Twenty20 internationals for West Indies.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

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