A True Sporting Genius

October 11, 2010

Tendulkar, not batting (surprisingly)

Hello All.

It’s been a while, so I thought I’d check in with you. How are you? Good? Excellent. It’s occurred to me that I spend a good amount of my time here moaning about things, so here’s a change of tack.

Sportsmen come, Sportsmen go. Most of them will fade away into deserved obscurity, some will fade into undeserved obscurity. Some will garner a measure of notoriety for an individual act, some will garner notoriety for a sequence of events. Some will be remembered as “good”, some will be remembered as “bad”, thats if they are remembered at all.

There are a few sportsmen however, who enter into the pantheon of greatness. You know the ones, those who became the very embodiment of the sport they played. The list is obvious, Muhammad Ali, Pele, Michael Jordan and Titus Bramble.

Nowadays, the list of sportsmen who actually “mean” something, is, well, sparse, to say the least. Footballers are little more than mouthpieces for their respective sponsors and various commercial interests and the game is riddled with sleaze and financial impropriety. Boxing and boxers are devalued by the sheer amount of “World Champions” that haunt it. Tennis remains dominated by the two blandest men in sport. The overriding factor here though is money, you always think that if there was no money in it, nobody would play sport.

Where can we turn to find our modern day sporting legends? Who, engaged in professional sport, can we rely on to provide the moments of sporting genius? Who can inspire us?

Allow me to recommend a man, the “Little Master”, Mr Sachin Tendulkar.

You may ask why I’m waxing so lyrical about the man; well you may or may not be aware that Tendulkar recently passed 14,000 test runs in the current test against Australia. But let the stats speak for themselves:

Test Runs: 14,002

ODI Runs: 17,594

First Class Runs: 22,432

Hundreds: 48

Over 50,000 runs scored in his career! And that’s not even including the 21,000 List A runs he’s snagged. With these runs behind him, it’s no wonder that Tendulkar is revered as God-like in India. Indeed, even Matthew Hayden, a devout Roman Catholic (and former Australian opener) has been moved to comment:

“I have seen God, he bats at no. 4 in India in tests”

Tendulkar is now 37 years old, and is surely in the twilight of his career, but who knows, maybe he’ll bat on and reach his 50 centuries. We should enjoy him while we can, because the world as a whole, not just the cricketing world, will be a much poorer place when he hangs up the pads.

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