Tendulkar milestonesThe hype surrounding each landmark may be doing disservice to the master, and to cricket
Sachin Tendulkar has played 198 Test matches, making 15,837 runs — a good 30 Tests and 2,459 runs more than the second best in the list, the retired Australian cricketer Ricky Ponting. Technically, each run Tendulkar scores and each minute he spends on the field is a record, and it has been that way for a while now. While that may be a phlegmatic way of looking at things, the Board of Control for Cricket in India appears to have swung to the other extreme.
The last few years have seen Tendulkar feted for a series of milestones — his 25 years in the game, the 100th ton and now the hubbub over his 200th Test and its venue. The financial implications of hosting a Test series at home — the SA tour is in the process of being truncated to fit in a two-Test WI series, especially so Tendulkar can play his bicentennial Test in India — leave alone one designed to whip up public and corporate interest, will not be lost on the BCCI.
However, in building each Tendulkar moment into a milestone, there are a few practical ends that the board may lose sight of. Even for someone who has remained immune to public scrutiny for most of his long career, Tendulkar has seemed wearied by expectations of late. The interminable wait for the 100th 100 lasted more than a year, and it has been close to three years since Tendulkar last hit a century in a winning cause. Apart from concerns of form, the hype surrounding each purported landmark makes objectively assessing Tendulkar's role in the side, quite apart from resting or dropping him, difficult. If anything, the selectors, already tasked with overseeing a difficult transition, stand to be undermined further.