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May 7, 1999

The Asanka Gurusinghe column and other subects

The Wasim Akram column:
Rashid Latif: Inshallah , it's difficult to digest this man's ego ! The reasons for the team's success lies in lot of other areas.Fear of being persecuted back home is one of the most dreaded thought behind the player's head - incl Akram/Malik for different reasons

Guest column -- Leadership is the key:
Deepak: BORING.... Another case of "Anybody and his Uncle" giving his useless thoughts.. SriLanka having a great fielding side...---Gimme a break!! Have u been living under a rock???...SriLankan fielding sucks!

Guest column -- Leadership is the key:
Gaurav Verma: Regarding the board - I could agree with stupid and largely useless but corrupt that is a hell of an unsbstantiated, I presume, accusation to make. India the #1 software nation - by what measure - did I completely miss some new and substantial development in the Indian software industry - should take more care in making assertions like this.

Guest column -- Leadership is the key:
Vijay Sundaram: We all know about the woeful quality of India's fielding. And alas this will set them back 20-30 runs in each game. But I think India's batting will be sadly exposed also. Just look back to the Edgbaston test of 1996 in early June to see why. Our batsmen, more than all other nations, seem to flounder when the ball moves around even a shade. They are too used to playing by their eye. Well in England, even in a 1-day tournament, it is technique that is always paramount. Another issue is the reliance on Tendulkar. Unfortunately, his record outside the sub-continent is none too stellar. In fact, I think all but 3 of his centuries have come in these familiar conditions close to our shores. Moreover, even he shows technical flaws when confronted by a seaming wicket. Witness the number of times he has been clean bowled in his career. Then compare that with Gavaskar, Boycott, Greg Chappell or others who were master technicians.

I'm a patriot, the same as anyone else, so my heart would like to see India marching out at Lords for the Final. But my head sees otherwise. The match against Sri Lanka will determine whether we grab the 3rd slot in the group and progress further. But even if we do, that will be it. No chance in the Super Six.

Guest column -- Leadership is the key:
Ravi: India (the #1 software nation) is woefully lacking the aid of technology Where did u get that statistic from?

Celebrating Sachin:
ananth: Dear Mr. Prem Panicker! I would be very very very very obliged, happy, and indebted if you can print this letter of mine on rediff. As with the thousands (I am being modest, actually it might be millions), I am extremely disappointed, hurt, and angry with Mr. Arvind's article and the subsequent articles where some ignorant people got carried away and surprisingly supported Mr. Arvind. Please print this letter of mine on your site so that 'Sachin-bashers' will know what they are doing to this little Genius of India.

First of all there are no comments on Mr. Arvind for his Stupid article of the decade because I feel my comments are much more worthy than spending them on a journalist like Mr. Arvind. The article is also stupid because all the cricket experts, both off and on the field, have vouched for the fact that Sachin is, if not THE BEST, one of the greatest batsman to have played on Planet Earth. I have taken pains in rewriting the quotes of the experts from the many articles that I have collected on Sachin, Dravid, Kapil, and Srikkanth since 1990.

The first para is to everybody who would go to any extent to give a Sachin-bashing.

The quotes are particularly for the reference of Mr. Phaneesh and Prasen, who in my mind, are the first persons to have clearly gotten carried away by Arvind's article. I have my counter points here to prove them that they are wrong in talking so cheaply about Tendulkar.

I was in Australia studying when Sachin hit up those wonderful back to back centuries making the oppositions (The Australians during that time were invinsibles) literally puppets under his batting. What I observed there when I was working in between Australians filled my heart with many feelings, the feelings ranging from Awe (about Tendulkar's batting) to the Pride, Happiness, and Indianness that he brought to our country India. Why? First of all it were those masterly 100s during April 1998. Secondly, the faces that I see of Australians and the words they said were the greatest and I will cherish them forever in memory. Remember the Australians are the most egoistic when it comes to praising other cricketers. I will quote some of them atleast to give the 'Sachin Bashers' a view so that they know what they have in India.
******** How come Sachin always bashes us mate?
******** I swear I am gonna kill that 'bas....'!!!!
******** How much did Sachin score mate?
******** We wish Sachin was an Australian!!
******** Mark Waugh after the Chennai test in 1998--> "Nobody likes to take a beating but you have got to be there in the middle to appreciate his genius"
All readers please remember, these are not cooked up, I listened to them swearing words, seen them in despair every time Sachin scored against Australians.
Now, what do I want to tell the Indian readers? This...Please for God's sake, do not Insult Sachin. Already he has given so much for us to cheer about.
Vivian Alexendar Richards-->He is 99.5% perfect. Even if Sachin retires tomorrow, and doesn't achieve anything more, he is still right there in the top three who has ever played cricket. Players like Sachin deserves to be preserved in cotton wool.'...........And what do we do, we throw brick bats at him by commenting on his batting. What the heck! I would go to the extent of asking myself, other readers(especially the bashers), and Mr. Arvind, who the hell are we to comment. did we play professional cricket? are we professional writers or for that matter professional commentators? We comment sitting at comforts of our home not knowing that 900 million people are expecting him to score a century, and more surprisingly he does score a century every 10th time he takes the crease, as stated by Mr. Prem Panicker.
Hello Mr. Phaneesh and Prasen,
This is regarding your letters to Rediff about Sachin and the previous article by Mr. Arvind 'somebody'. And I would disagree completely about many things...
Quote.."Although Sachin has been phenomenal only last year, the hype has stayed with him for years now".. I think you are a very poor follower of cricket in general. I (like many people who appreciate Sachin) have been following Sachin's batting from many years. This is the quote which proves you wrong
"Richie Benaud..Former Australian Skipper and present Channel 9 anchor says..He is the best young batsman I have ever seen in my life"...1992 series.
"Azharuddin after the drubbing by Australians in 1992 in Australia--> If only we had done half of what Sachin has done, the one day series would have been a different story for us".......During this series, Sachin single handedly (with a little help from the Dashing Srikanth) brought India into the B&H finals by defeating West Indies. Who were the bowlers? Curtly Ambrose, Cortney Walsh, and company.
"Craig McDermot-->He is already a tough bloke to get out"
"Allan Border 1992 Series in Australia--> Sachin is so superb a player at the age of 18, I shudder to think what he will be when he has actually matured"
So you see Mr. Praneesh & Prasen, he has been phenomenol throughout his career and there's no hype whatsoever that you are mentioning. If you still have doubts please mail me and I will send the xerox copies of the first hand articles written by exprets. Hell! with a little bit of research, I can even send you the internet-based articles from where they keep the huge database of articles written since many years.
By Phaneesh-->"It is true that many of the matches that he has hit centuries have been played in subcontinent/Sharjah pitches"
For this argument, all I can say is India has won the matches whenever he scored. Also what if he scored those centuries on the sub-continent, it is not his mistake, it is the mistake of the Board for not conducting enough matches on foriegn soils. Remember, Tendulkar started opening from 1994 and from that time on we played few matches outside compared to the home matches. Then there are also the x-factors barring Statistics, where the opposition will do anything (even resort to bizarre things to get him out, quote: "Ranatunga.....You get him out and half the battle is won") and many many times we all have seen the opposition to raise their standard of their game just to get Sachin out. why? Obviously they think he is a class apart unlike some readers!! And these were never the factors when it comes to other Indian players. I can give you few more recent examples too. April 1998 Pre-finals of Sharjah--Sachin was given out to a no-ball, I guess Mr. Ian Robinson was so mesmerized by his batting that he forgot to declare it a no ball.

Same series--Finals--Sachin was given lbw, clearly, the Australian experts themselves said that was a horroble decision. And I guess umpire Mr. Javed Akhtar got scared that Sachin might hit a straight drive and break his legs because that's what he almost did to Ganguly in that match. THEN, strangely, I am surprised Mr. Phaneesh and Prasen are not either mesmerized nor got any other feeling. Infact they went the other way round by insulting Sachin's greatness.

By Phaneesh--->The other sad thing is Tendulkar has performed only a few times when the ask has been big.
For this point... I do not have authoritative evidence but I would like to ask you one important question Mr. Phaneesh! If it isn't Tendulkar scoring in the big matches, then who is?
I am sure the answer boils down to three things. one, we can count on our fingers where we have won big matches without Sachin Scoring. Two, Sachin still scored a quick fire 40 or 50 in some other big score matches to inspire the others to follow. A quote from Tony Grieg on Fox Sports of Australia report on the Bangladesh finals of Indo-pak match. "Sachin scored only 43 of 19 balls but that great knock has instilled a bilief in others that they can chase this huge total"....
Rememer Mr. Phaneesh that I was in Australia from 95' to 98'. Another instant was in South Africa under Sachin's captaincy. He again scored a quick 48 in the finals where he was given caught out by Jony Rhodes under suspicious camera movements. Apart from these, I do not have much reports because I was out of the country almost from 95' to 98'. Maybe Mr. Prem Panicker would help me enlighten you.
And three, the remaining big score matches where Sachin failed, the other players did not even bother chasing, especially against Pakistan. Also all this does not mean that Sachin cannot score in a big match. He can. Many times since he has started holding a bat the people have down played this great player and 99% of the time this little big guy has bounced back to prove EVERYONE wrong. Again, an example. Scoring 3 ducks in a row against West Indies in 1995 and then bouncing back with a vengance.
Hello Prasen! This is what you said which is also silly.
"Thirdly he has not been tested under the genuine pace bowling and funnily seaming bowling under the tricky english condition by bowlers of great repute"
What better way then to explain you with the expert comments made years back, and which will prove to you that you are wrong. I repeat it is not sachin's mistake but the board's mistake not have conducted many matches abroad. Our Indian experts have been screaming about this aspect but no response from the board. I would appreciate if somebody can give me a statisic (since the Scahin-bashers are using the same thing) on Sachin's performance after he started opeing the batting. Anyway, on to the comments.....
"Donald Bradman-->........" On second thoughts I will not write what Sir Don has said of Sachin, because everybody who knows c is for cricket knows about that statement too.
"Geoffrey Boycott-->Technically you can't fault sachin. Seam or spin, fast or slow, nothing is a problem. Ofcourse he gets out cheaply once in a while. Who doesn't? All that will prove is that he is a human"
"Ian Healy--> I have seen him on Australian Pitches too, especially on the bouncy Perth wicket. Sachin was Still there when 6th wicket fell. Witney, Mc Dermott, Merv Hughes, and Shane were gunning him. He kept jumping on top of the ball scoring boundaries. He is the complete cricketer"......... This is during 1992 series in Australia where Tendulkar scored runs. I must also point out before you say foul, that although he scored centuries in test matches, but still the argument here is he cannot play great fast bowling on seaming tracks....Well, HE did play great fast bowling added with verbal venom from the Aussies while the likes of Vengsarkar, Ravi Shastri, Kapil Dev, and Azar wilted under pressure.
"Sunil Gavaskar--> He's a more accomplised 18 year old than I was. Sachin is a most brilliant and Outstanding batsman"
"Kris Srikkanth--> He is the only match-winning batsman we have"
"Azar--> He is the most important factor in Indian cricket. I have no hesitation or inhibition in stating this because it is a truth. The team's overall strength changes with this man's success"
.....The above comments were made many years back, exception being the last one. You can imagine what they feel right now.
And I will give a final quote of another expert with whom I compltely agree.
"Peter Roebuck..Well known Journalist(I think)-->It is a burden that he has worn lightly in 6 years without losing the exuberance that is his trademark and his saviour. We must not expect too much of him. Already he has given us so much. But he isn't a machine, he's mere flesh and blood, and we enjoy him all the more because he dares to explore the edges of his game and of batting itself"
Well, Prasen and Phaneesh! I am writing this letter only as a constructive critic. It is said that when we truly like somebody, say, x, and when others comment badly on that x, then the people will spit venom on those commentators. And why do we spit venom? Because we truly truly feel that that x is worth defending. Now, with some candid feelings, I can say, x is the Sachin and we as True cricket lovers will find it worth defending the little gem of India. Clearly Mr. Arvind has hurt the feelings of many people and also insulted Mr. Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar, just like one Mr. Suresh Kalmadi did.

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