Vinish Garg

Technical Writer. Published Author. http://www.vhite.com

Tendulkarisation or Dravidisation of Cricket?

with 15 comments

So the world celebrates Tendulkar’s 20 years of international cricket. Experts, former and present cricketers who has played with and against him, media, theorists have poured in their highly-emotional tributes to the man who almost seems as old as the game itself in India, at least to the current generation. It is almost like Tendulkarisation of Indian Cricket!

However, there are others, a different set of fans (and experts and former cricketers) who had a different opinion about the master, (at least they thought so in the period from 2004 to 2007). Who like the batsman Tendulkar, while disagreeing with many tributes such as ‘being the best ever’. I too feel that he is not.

Personally, I know him as the batsman as any other cricket follower, and of course I too feel privileged to have watched him during Chennai 1998, Sharjah 1998, or Centurion 2003, And I am enjoying the process of all this adulation on little master. I too watched him as the God of cricket, but only till 2003. I feel that somewhere, he has not been doing what he should have or could have done for himself, and that would been automatically rewarding for Indian cricket as well.

By coincidence or otherwise, I suspect that all such different set of people (at least in India) must be Dravid fans.

Not a single 300 in test cricket and only five 200 plus scores is a huge under-achievement by his standards. We talk of his records but these come when you play for 20 years, longer than anybody else from contemporary players.

That he is not a selfish cricketer is of course true but he has not been selfless either. There was time when experts including Ian Chappel and Ravi Shastri questioned his contribution to the team, around 2004-07 (though I do not believe that he was playing for statistics). But unlike Dravid, he has not gone out of the way, offering something extra (of which he is capable of, and is as good a manner as anybody else) to help the team cause. Many a times, when India was struggling to find a opening batsman in test cricket, Dravid was ‘ready’. Notably, test tours in South Africa 2001, Pakistan 2006 and Australia 2007. Remember, Dravid was the captain during Pakistan 2006 he took the initiative and challenge to open the batting despite his not-so-good record as an opener. Dravid did that in ODI also, West Indies 2006, and most recently Sri Lanka tri-series 2009, so that other players could play freely assuming that Dravid will keep the other end safe. And most often, he did.

On Australian tour in 2007-08, team again moved Dravid to open the test match to ‘accommodate’ Yuvraj Singh, who failed. Dravid too failed and the process repeated in next match and by that time Australia were leading the series by 2-0. Ever since India have tried to fill an open middle-order slot (Kaif, Yuvraj, sometimes Laxman, whose neck had been invariably on the wire), I always felt that Sachin Tendulkar should have been pushed down at 5 or 6 when less experienced batsmen were trying to be regular in the team. And I am very surprised at his dislike for not moving from no. 4 position (if you looking at stats, please exclude all such instances when night watchman made him bat at 5). Over the years, Border did it for Steve Waugh, and later S. Waugh did it for brother Mark or Martyn, to groom fluent and less-established players and he himself was better able to play with the tail. Azharuddin demoted himself to five bringing Tendulkar to 4, Ranatunga did it for D’ Silva, Cronje did it for Cullinan and Kallis. Tendulkar has never taken initiative to make adjustments for the team. On the contrary, when he failed in first 4 innings during Australian tour in 2003, he was moved to no. 5 position so that he could find form. Isn’t it interesting?

I suspect that he does not believe in process, and his belief is ‘I will score more will help team more’ isn’t always true. Sometimes, I sense that he plays (and scores well) as if he is oblivious of team problems (batting order, opening slot) which is not good for the team. His No to captiancy in 1997 and 2000 were understandable, and his decision is respected. But his decline to captaincy when Dravid resigned in September 2007, particularly when there was no other suitable candidate at that time, again raised a question on his attitude towards the ‘process’.

He has openly heaped praise on Ganguly and Kumble as captains, and Sunil Gavaskar as a batsman. I wonder why he doesn’t talk about Dravid. India’s fortunes have changed in last few years for different factors including Ganguly’s captaincy, team’s better adaptability to foreign tours, and of course Dravid the batsman. I have rarely heard Tendulkar talking about Dravid, neither as captain for our series triumph in West indies (2006) and England (2007) or the glorious run in ODIs prior to world cup 2007, nor for Dravid the batsman. I was very surprised that a few days back, he took Bangar’s name before Dravid during that infamous Headingly test in 2002 and it was because he himself scored a hundred. And may be that is why he did not mention Adelaide 2003 or Kingston 2006, both pioneering moments in their own respective sense. Dravid as captain, emphasized on having the process which doesn’t work in India, and so he resigned. He was dropped from ODI, quite unfairly twice. It is fine if Sachin has nothing to say on his ‘dropping’ but now when he ways that ‘batting order’ was the reason for world cup 2007 debacle, I can read it between the line. And so many others can.

So, I feel that though we should enjoy this moment of little champion’s 20 years of cricket, and we applaud him, though the process could have been better, punctuated with the spirit of ‘growing together’.

(C) Copyrights Vinish Garg.

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Written by Vinish Garg

November 16, 2009 at 11:12 am

15 Responses

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  1. i loved ur content…had goosebumps while reading it…i think that u understand these minute things so well. and follow the game with true spirit,,,i think that..u…just like me….have understood dravid in his true sense..hats of…would definately love to keep in tuch wd u and ur brilliant thoughts

    aakanksha

    November 16, 2009 at 8:13 pm

  2. Thanks G. I appreciate the ‘few’ who understand what the game is all about 🙂

    Vinish

    November 16, 2009 at 8:22 pm

  3. I will voice my father’s opinion here which I openly support, according to him, Indian cricket team lacks team spirit, most of the players, read Sachin, only play to boost their individual rankings. Cricket in India is a way to get rich overnight. I stopped liking Sachin for last 5-6 years. He did play a beautiful knock recently and its a fact that no one can deny that at this age no one can score 100+ in ODI. Sachin did. But Sachin is over-rated. I like Mr. Wall or Dravid and the young guns in our team but yes Sachin didn’t contribute anything for team in last few years, though he did contribute to his personal rankings and scores. Nice writeup, must appear in a news paper. 🙂

    Kumar Chetan Sharma

    November 20, 2009 at 11:48 am

    • ..must appear in a newspaper? Well, whether it is Indian cricket or anything per se, it is a mere reflection of society today, including of course media. I used to write in newspapers 11 years back, these were published for 6-7 years but as soon as I voiced something different, I found them being rejected. Furthermore, ealier I used to receive back the non-published entries by ‘registered post’ (may be as a mark of respect (I wonder if it was)), but of late, I do not even got back what i write, neither it gets published. So, now I have stopped sending it to ‘newspapers’, as I fear that I could see these published by some other name! Afterall a different opinion is always welcome in media though not from ‘outsiders’ 🙂

      And thanks for your views, and for being in the category of fewer than ‘few’.

      vinishgrg

      November 20, 2009 at 12:02 pm

  4. gr8 article….really a true picture of whts going on in Indian ckt in the recent years….its true, sachin has got more hype than he should get while the players like Dravid just remain ‘man behind the man’…still can’t forget Dravid’s innings of 270 runs against Pak in Rawalpindi where he was having a very good chance of getting to 300 but he sacrificed his wicket just to get the quick runs as it was what India required at that time….
    & then there is a match in which Dravid declared the innings when Sachin was on 194…most people criticised Dravid on tht but the true picture was that Dravid had to take that decision grudgingly as Sachin slowed down too much as he was approaching his 200(nthing new, he always do tht when approaching a personal landmark…main reason due to which he often get out in 90’s) & he just forgot tht delaying the things can deny India a victory…if Dravid wld have waited for Sachin to make 200 & if India would not have been able to bowl out the opposition…again the Dravid would have been criticised…so it has been always Dravid who had been put under the axe despite of his selfless game & a great team spirit…
    well i can quote many other examples where Dravid have faced injustice on the part of selectors, media & even the people but despite all tht he continued to play for his team putting behind all such stuff & will continue to do so in future…

    Rahul Bindal

    January 15, 2010 at 11:08 pm

  5. In 2nd test again Bangladesh (January 2010), Laxman was out injured and we had Murli Vijay and Yuvraj Singh in the middle order.

    Even then Tendulkar walked out to bat at number 4 without considering the vulnerability of number 5 and 6 (M Vijay has played only 2-3 test, all in India).

    Vinish

    January 25, 2010 at 10:48 am

  6. fair arguments. however i fail to see how being a tendulkar fan means being ignorant of dravid’s contribution or the other way around. Your arguments are two-fold, statistical and qualitative. About the stats, the scoring of 300’s and 400’s are hardly instrumental in winning test matches (just look at the results of games where lara/hayden scored those). Ponting doesn’t have that many huge scores either, doesn’t make him a lesser player.

    About the observations on captaincy, lack of praise for dravid, not demoting himself etc. He took captaincy twice, before a South Africa tour and an Australian tour (needless to say not many were lining up to do that). Both tours were disasters primarily because India were 0/2 by the end of the 3rd over and the rest of the batting didn’t really back him up. About his lack of comments about dravid, why would you assume he doesn’t hold him in the highest regard (isn’t it just plain conjecture?). About his position in the batting order, others have complained that his refusal to open the batting shows his weakness. Here you argue for the reverse. How would it make life easier for other batsmen to go in before him? Would it not make sense for the prime batsmen to take on the responsibility of scoring most of the runs.

    You’re making logical arguments, but its the sum total of Tendulkar’s achievements that make him the great he is. Dravid deserves his own chapter in the greats of Indian cricket. One does not undermine the other.

    donthaveaclue

    January 28, 2010 at 4:33 pm

  7. Hey I appreciate your thoughts. And I agree with your last point as ‘sum total of Tendulkar’s achievements…’. And being a Dravid fan, I agree that Tendulkar may be marginally better than Dravid as a cricketer (overall cricketing ability in all forms of game). I do not believe in camps, and my appreciation for Dravid does not mean that I am not happy when Sachin scores a hundred.

    My point was that the hype or attention Tendulkar gets (from media, experts, panelists, fans and others in cricket community) is misplaced. The difference between what Tendulkar gets (accolades and respect) and what Dravid gets is not proportional to their contributions or achievements. We had Dravid’s birthday few days back on 11 Jan and I could not see a single word in any newspaper. And we see whole page or huge sections falling all over on 24 April, or when he completed 30 hundreds (in August-September 2002 in England).

    For statistics, well these do not tell the whole story. If Gayle and Jayasuriya have scored a 300 in test cricket, it does not mean that they are better than Richards, Ponting, S Waugh or Tendulkar because the later have not. Still, stats tell some picture of big players. Look at those who have score more than 20 test hundreds or 30 test hundreds. Players get the respect for nothing, there are at least some stats to back when we call them good or great. Now considering what Tendulkar gets as attention and respect, I am sorry to say that scoring only 4 double hundreds and not a single 300 is still an under-achievement by his standards.

    Going deeper, your comments on 0/2 are not fair. The fate had been far more cruel for Lara in this respect, still look at his temperament for big scores. Please, I am not comparing. I never compared any two players as batsmen. All these great players have their own chapter (as you said) and may be that is why I do not have one but 20 all time favorite players . My point was about the proportion and relevance of attention, accolades and respect.

    Whatever initiative Dravid took as a captain or as team player were in the interest of team (apart form runs he scored). I still stick to my observation about Tendulkar’s initiative about the process. That I sense this initiative missing from a player, somebody who is Tendulkar of world cricket.

    vinishgrg

    January 29, 2010 at 8:53 am

  8. very gud article……….each sentence u told is right…keep writing,Dravid is always the unsung hero

    Krishna Sarma

    January 30, 2010 at 10:18 pm

  9. http://www.cricinfo.com/magazine/content/story/134429.html

    http://www.cricinfo.com/magazine/content/story/317499.html

    Here are two articles on Rahul Dravid and his contributions to Indian cricket.Even though,no words can describe his great work,I wrote an article on him too.
    http://freehit-cricketanalysis.blogspot.com/2010/06/rahul-dravidindias-best-test-cricketer.html

    However,I do not believe that this era of indian cricket can be divided into tendulkarisation or dravidasation.Rather it is combination of both,since both humble greats have together worked selflessly for the nation.
    Dravid is probably India’s most valuable player though Tendulkar is also not far behind by much.

    Mayank Jhaveri

    July 8, 2010 at 12:30 am

  10. […] Tendulkarisation or Dravidisation of Cricket? November 2009 10 comments 3 […]

  11. this is good and i would also like to add to this analysis of why i believe Dravid is more of an asset in Test cricket than Sachin. Before ppl jump up and down, the main point is that Sachin does not deserve the hype/ credit he gets once you really break down each innings and dig much deeper than surface stats which we should know does not at all show the complete picture eg: a 70 can be more valuable than a 100. The sad thing is that Sachin never asked for this hype/pressure but we are all at a loss due to this and it is the reality.
    Will write in further detail soon.

    tctnw

    August 23, 2011 at 8:49 pm

    • Agree. And if you see the date when I wrote it, it did not matter that Dravid was in prime form and Tendulkar was not. My views are independent of the *current form*. I shall look forward to more of your posts/comments. Thanks for stopping by to see my post.

      vinishgrg

      August 23, 2011 at 9:01 pm

  12. Sad.. I think you missed the point.. Its not about 300s.. average….etc

    Its all about who made the country come together always. Its about delivering when the other batsmen failed and still come back with hope every day. Its about being the best batsman in both forms of the game for a long long time. Its about coming back strong after every injury. Its about being the hero for every child when there was particularly no sporting hero. Its about being an inspiration to the kids who now make the team. Its about maintaining a calm mind despite.

    You see a lot of these pertain to Rahul and you would also notice that all of these pertain to Sachin.

    There was a time when Indians were weak but they were feared because we had Sachin. He always was the Prized Wicket.. He always was under constant pressure. This in fact let Rahul be himself and play his game and that was the biggest possible help Sachin could have done. Forget the praising each other part…. Both supported each other. We achieved what we did because of them.

    As someone said, You dont need to sully the Everest to make the Kanchenjunga look good. It looks bloody good anyways. You dont need to make Sachin look bad to make Rahul look better.

    ‘A few’ People may say Rahul was better than Sachin… but the fact is its already marketed the other way round… And what does it say?? Sachin is loved more… and “When Sachin bats, all else…is irrelevant“

    Nikhil

    August 16, 2013 at 9:03 am


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