In the last 4 days, I saw some super sporting stuff. It was a mix of both great expectations and greater determination. Let me begin with tennis first.
Y’day in Wimbledon, Serena Williams played a super 4th round match against Daniela Hantuchova. Serena was down 5-2 in 2nd set and then made it 5-5 only to get massive cramps on her left leg. She could barely stand and for a person as fit as her to start crying must be a lot of pain.
She nevertheless did and managed to win her service game and the score was 6-6. Actually it was getting cloudy and rains could have come. Any other person would have quit but not Serena who stood and hoped rains to come. The rain gods did smile on her when the score was 4-2 in the tiebreak with Hantuchova leading.
SW came back, lost the 2nd set 7-6 and won the third set 6-2. It was an amazing display of determination amidst huge expectations.
She said at the end of the match in press conference- I would have died for victory. You showed that SW…keep going.
After a long wait I can write on Sachin Tendulkar. I think has gone through a lot and has some determination to show he has some cricket left in him. After his super run in Ireland, he seems to be making a comeback of sorts despite all criticisms. It is too early to say whether he is back to his old-self but I have a different point to make. Apurv has a nice piece on the same.
ST has always carried enormous pressure on him rather too well till recently. He couldn’t perform as consistently as he used to, which only showed he is human more than anything else. Sachin is always criticised for- not contributing much to India’s wins, way beyond his prime, etc etc.
I however beg to differ. Statistics isn’t the only way of looking at things. As we learnt earlier, despite conventional thinking, financial globalisation isn’t beneficial when we look at the impact of capital flows on economic development. But as the authors pointed out it is indirect benefits (they call it collateral benefits) of financial globalization which is more beneficial- development of institutions, financial systems, better macro policies etc.
Similarly, statistically Sachin’s record may not be as good as I would want it to be, but he has had a much well-rounded indirect effect on development and popularity of the game. Since, he started opening in ODIs against NZ on 27 Mar 1994, he has carried the hopes of the entire nation on his shoulders. Not just that, with top Indian cricketers embroiled in match fixing controversies, little support from the other players, he has performed time in time again. And he has been very consistent if you look at his career graph.
What are the indirect benefits? Well, India drives the entire revenues of the cricketing world and a dip in popularity of the game in India leads to huge losses for everybody associated with the game. The recent world cup is the recent and the best example of this.
So, for cricket to develop and continue to be popular, it is important Indian population is hooked to the game. And they would develop interest only if India continues to perform and that is what Sachin promised and delivered. People watched cricket as long as he was batting as there was hope. I am sure he would have many a matches for India if he got consistent support from the rest of the team. If it had not been Sachin, Indian cricket would have been like Indian hockey long time back. With Sachin not able to perform, we can see Indian cricket on the downhill.
It is sad that we don’t give this man the due he deserves. He has done much more for cricket than it shows in statistics. How much he loves the game and how much he wants to perform is shown by the fact that he is still there fighting all odds. I just wish he gets some good scores ahead, wins some matches for India and retires on a high. He needs all the luck and support for his contribution to cricket. Keep going ST.