his life and the beautiful game

Hero: A Biography of Sachin Ramesh TendulkarHero: A Biography of Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar by Devendra Prabhudesai
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The bowler started his run up.
The ground was wet due to heavy rainfall in the last night. It was perfect green top- only sincere endeavour from the grounds men did ensure the game to be started at the morning.
Facing the pacer was a short statured batsman-in his white shirt and trouser.
The red cheery did come at a pace of about 150plus something kilometer –did landed on the good length spot. And awkwardly the ball took off. Uneven bounce it is…..
Perhaps there is a lapse of concentration in the mind of a batsman. Perhaps he is in two minds-whether to leave or play the ball. It was fraction of a second- one tenth or one twentieth of a second- and that split second does it all.
The ball kisses the helmet of the batsmen. He was a little unsettled-for a moment it appears he is about to tumble- and then adjusts himself.
He murmurs –looking at the sub-perhaps in despair, perhaps in frustration…..
Or perhaps in anger-for not utilizing the opportunity
Hearts of millions of audiences perhaps bounced to the throat….

It is Moral victory for the bowler. How long will the batsman last? Perhaps a ball, perhaps two, perhaps three………..
He started his run up once again…..
‘Sachin! Sachin!’chanting begun- first almost inaudible- perhaps like humming of bees- and the intensity rising gradually- almost like a hymn- intensity touching to its thunderous zenith…….
The ball is delivered- a calculated short pitched one- clearly to unsettle the mind of the batsman…..the ball is about to rub the shoulder- eyes of millions are popping out- literally….
And the willow hits the ball- it is a hook- perfectly executed, calculated-and the ball is outside the ropes in a flash.
Everybody takes a sigh of relief- inside the cinema hall- as if some live action was being performed in the stadium. People forgot that Sachin was in celluloid….
Such is the charisma of the name….. , Which erases the boundary line between imagination and reality.
Realty becomes imagination. Imagination becomes reality.
Because the story of sachin is the story of chasing the impossible……. Of chasing the dream…..
Hero- A Biography of Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar by Devendra Prabhudesai- a noted biographer and manager of Media Relations & Corporate Affairs of BCCI in Mumbai is a well researched biography on the man who became synonymous with Indian cricket. Before penning the biography- Devendra has already authored the biography of Sunil Gavaskar(‘SMG’ – 2009) and of Rahul Dravid((‘The Nice Guy Who Finished First’ – 2005), the other two members of the elite club of Indian cricket who have the distinction of crossing 100000 marks. So this may be considered as the end of the trilogy- or the circle becomes full. But why Sachin-when there are so many books on the master blaster-ranging from Gulu Ezekiel., Vijay Santhanam, Neelima Athalye, V. Krishnaswamy, Boria Majumder …….
This has been answered by Prabhudesai- as Sachin is a subject who can be explored from different dimensions and new findings will come, again and again. In words of Prabhudesai -‘whenever criticized, he let his actions on the cricketing field do the talking and explaining. He never ever displayed feet of clay and was elevated to divinity in a land known to venerate its gods and goddesses. There were of course, occasions when his followers were reminded of the fact that for all his gifts, their beloved Sachin was only human. While he did sometimes falter, against the run of play on the field, he steered clear of controversies and scandals off it. In the process, he untied a nation.’
What can be far more enchanting to a person hailing from a fragile socioeconomic condition to have someone as icon who has dominated against all odds and became triumphant!
To be honest, one average Indian citizen, from dawn to dusk has to suffer many a problems- from his personal, his social, his economical sphere. India is a developing country-and sadly enough we are yet to be a happy nation. Problems are everywhere for an average aam admi-and to escape from them he needs a dream- a dream which can help him in touching the rainbow of his wishes. What can be far more enchanting character than the brave heart, short statured Marathi- who hailing from a middle class background- not only silenced his critics on and off the field with his consistent performance-but also accorded the Bharat Ratna- the highest honor of India- the only one awarded to any sportsman in India. When Sachin lifts Warne for a towering six- the aam admi discovers himself in Sachin- when he flicks McGrath for a boundary- he sees his own reflection. That’s why Sachin has appeal of another dimension to billions of Indian-and that’s why- Prabhudesai has to be very cautious-as he was dealing with subject like Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar!
He did justice to his subject. There are fact feast in the book- mostly unheard- gathered from various corners- his family members, his former playmates, his friends, contemporary writing from journalists. Prabhudesai did painstaking research in amassing the book-containing not only the pearls from sachin’s life- but it is a valuable document of contemporary Indian cricket. There is match by match, ball by ball description of matches- matches that in some way or other epoch making episodes of Indian cricket! Everything came as inseparable sequence of the book- rise and fall of Vinod Kambli, the gallant leadership of Sourav the skipper, the black days of Indian cricket, our dismal performance on foreign soil ……..it all came and dealt at depth.
The book has been divided into three broad sections- Prodigy (1984-91)- starting from early days to the Hero Cup and commencement of the career of Sachin as skipper of Mumbai, Peerless(1992-99)-which elaborates the saga of Sachin as the opening bat of India to the match fixing episode of Indian cricket, and last but not the least- Preceptor( 2000-13) –which literally transformed international cricket to a game ruled by a Maratha named Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar . As Prabhudesai has rightly pointed out-‘ Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar led Indian cricket formally for only 2 of the 24 years of his international career and informally for the other 22’-Sachin and Indian cricket became inseparable- as if Sachin became the sun of the cricketing system and all other events revolved round him.
Enough has been said in comparing Sunil Gavaskar with Sir Donald Bradman. It has always been said that Bradman has to face the nastiest episode of international cricket. What would have been happened if Sunil has to face the body line bowling? Cricket journalists say on that eventful series sir Don looked like a mere member of Homo sapiens species. It is also said that Sunil had to face the fearful pace quarter of Caribbean cricket, that too with a hat. When Sachin was at the mid of his career-no doubt the standard of pace bowling had deteriorated. There was no Lily Thomson duo-Malcolm Marshal was a shadow of his former self- there was no John Snow either. But that does not cut short the credit of Sachin. He had brilliant reflex coupled with good eye sight, good but not the best- he didn’t have twenty twenty vision. On the backdrop of a great power of judgment and relentless disciplined practice, Sachin became Sachin today- whose name is spelled in the same bracket with the boy from Bowral……..
Prabhudesai has a style of narrating as fluent as a running commentator- reader can almost smell the aroma of grass of cricket stadium –‘ With all the fielders saw the wicketkeeper in the deep ,getting a boundary seemed difficult and getting a two hundred impossible. But Sachin managed the impossible with a perfectly timed flick that ensured a comfortable two before the ball could be returned to the wicketkeeper. Kumaran’s next ball was pitched short of a length and it gave the batsman some width. Sachin latched on to it and lashed hard. The cherry whizzed of the turf and went to the right of Rabin Singh, who had stationed himself as sweeper.’ Let it be left to the imagination of the reader –what Rabin did with the ball. Our point of interest is the narration style of Prabhudesai. Of course he is no Neville cardus who will bring epic tinge on his narration. But still Prabhudesai has perfected the art of narration. Somehow it reminds me the style of narration of another Marathi- Sunil Monohar Gavaskar!
In spite of so many quality reads on the life of master blaster- Prabhudesai’s book is a must read simply due to its vividness.
Cricket is the greatest leveler of the subcontinent- from the leave thatched house to the palace. Cricket makes us dream- dream of achieving the impossible. They say- in the name of cricket productivity of a nation suffers heavily- but they forget man can never live by bread alone. Appendices are well stacked with information and there is a collection of good number of rare and memorable photographs on Sachin’s life.
Dream gives us strength-strength to face the reality. Perhaps the boy-with torn pants- just now miscued the ball-playing in the gulley next to my house- has the same dream written over his face.
Dream to become Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar- dream to be the hero……….
Other information related to book
• Paperback: 552 pages
• Publisher: Rupa Publications India (17 April 2017)
• Language: English
• ISBN-10: 8129145650
• ISBN-13: 978-8129145659

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