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. . . But Sachin stays the constant idea


With the ball firmly in their court, the Indian selectors should know if Sachin's time is up.

Even his dedicated fans are beginning to leave him now. " That is the most common refrain after Sachin Tendulkar's twin failures in the ongoing Test series against England. The Indian cricket board appoints paid selectors in the country who are supposed to do their handsomely-paid jobs and Tendulkar, like any player, can be dropped. That the event has never happened before, given that Tendulkar is fit and wanting to play, is a fact. So if it happens, like with everything Tendulkar, it will make history.

Art is the highest form of any discipline. Art is both what you do and what you refuse to do. What you say and what you leave unsaid. The balls you play and those you leave. The part you shade and the one you leave as it is. The flaw is the beauty of a genius. Bradman's flaw was his completely-unorthodox technique. The boy working alone with a stump and a golf ball in the backyard is a favourite Bradman story, he did it his way. Tendulkar's flaw now appears to be his acceptance of the Rajya Sabha seat. He looks like a glaring error there. The on-field flaw is his flawless game. One is not sure though, if he's made the mistake of missing his moment. Is he being rigid and adamant in thinking that he's got some more time? Or is he betting against it? And in that case, is he being candid about his plans with the selectors?

Genius mathematician Henri Poincare once said: "The true work of the inventor consists in choosing among these combinations so as to eliminate the useless ones, or rather, to avoid the trouble of making them, and the rules that must guide the choice are extremely fine and delicate. "

Mathematical solutions are selected by the subliminal self on the basis of 'mathematical beauty', of the harmony of numbers and forms, of geometric elegance. Poincarê made it clear that he was not speaking of romantic beauty He meant classic beauty, which comes from the harmonious order of the parts.

Tendulkar is the Poincare of cricket. He has the feel for it. Even Bradman was dropped after a poor first Test and it took some unbelievable amount of time and runs for him to be considered seriously. Tendulkar put his feet on the ground with his legend already established to certain extent, even in faraway lands where he had not yet landed. Tendulkar's talent was a before-the-fact phenomenon and Bradman's incredible success established that he was talented, but no would buy this fact, despite his phenomenal first-class run scoring, before the first Test match of the 1930-31 series against England.

Great talent is a before-the-fact phenomenon. Tendulkar was described as a monster in the making a year before his debut Test. The expectations were skyhigh. During the summer of 1997, London's Times Magazine published John Woodcock's personal selection of the 100 greatest cricketers in the history of the game and sparked off a debate. However, it was universally agreed that no one was better qualified to undertake such a daunting and essentially controversial task. Woodcock had 50 years of experience watching and reporting Test cricket. WG Grace opened the list and it was noted that he was 15 when he made 32 and 22 for Bristol & District against an All-England XI, and fifty eight when he made 74 in the last of his 151 innings for the Gentlemen against the Players. In 1895, when rising forty-seven and of megalithic proportions, he renewed all the power of his youth in becoming the first batsman ever to score 1000 First Class runs.

Tendulkar too made the cut and was at number 25. Back then, Woodcock gushingly described his cracker of a century for India against Australia on a lively pitch with a brilliance that no other batsman in the world could have surpassed. He was eighteen at the time - the prodigy of prodigies. In other words, Tendulkar has all the credentials to become one of the two or three greatest batsmen in the game's history, as well as one of the most engaging.

So what kind of a constant is Tendulkar? He is dimensionless. And though he's on the last mile, we shouldn't keep him like a man standing on prickly needles. He was around when the Berlin Wall existed and the Kremlin functioned the old way. He has been dismissed by a Kiwi player and his third generation relative. Monty Panesar, the man who took 11 wickets in the second Test match of the ongoing series and was superb as a spinner with control, said that it was Tendulkar's wicket that gave him maximum joy. Jimmy Anderson opened the mind games before the series by targeting Tendulkar with the statement: "We are not going to give him too much respect. " We know where the English paceman is coming from. Rivals often tend to admire his batting and he rolls them over, so they are on their guard, trying to send him back to the pavilion.

Rahul Dravid said recently: "India needs him now more than ever. At 1-1 in a tight series, it's going to be very important for senior players to stand up and who better than Sachin to do that. " Such is the disgust that now Dravid fans have started questioning his integrity because he's spoken in favour of Tendulkar as if Tendulkar is blocking the way of so many Pujaras. Honestly, where are those Pujaras?

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