|Tendulkar is back but Manjrekar takes cheap shots|
|by Gulu Ezekiel|
|Jul 21, 2006|
It is pretty amazing really how Sachin Tendulkar's
grip on the Indian cricket fraternity appears as
strong as ever even after his trials and tribulations
of the last few years.
Most of the speculation in the weeks leading up to the
selection of the team for the Sri Lanka tri-series
next month centred around whether Tendulkar would be
fit to be part of the team.
After India crushed England 5-1 in the ODI series in
April that Tendulkar missed there was plenty of talk
of how the team was able to win even in his absence. A
sense of complacency appeared to have crept into the
All that changed abruptly after the shock 1-4 reverse
at the hands of West Indies the following
month and once again it sunk in as to just what an
integral part of the side Tendulkar remains. This even
after 17 years of international cricket.
Remember, India had beaten the West Indies for the
first time in an ODI series on their soil on the 2002
tour with Tendulkar playing a vital role despite a
hand injury. This followed a disappointing run in the
preceding Test series that India had lost 1-2.
Talking about injuries, Sanjay Manjrekar's personal
attack on Tendulkar, accusing him of missing too many
matches through not being 100% fit and his so-called
fear of failure is not too surprising.
In the sense
that Tendulkar's former state and national teammate
has for years now been taking cheap shots at
Tendulkar, no doubt borne out of frustration and
bitterness at never quite being able to fulfill his
Still, it is shocking that such statements should come
from a former international player since it is usually
fans that have little understanding of cricket who
rush to judgment on their heroes.
It is a fair bet that the same Manjrekar would have
attacked Tendulkar if he had played while not being
fully fit, accusing him of being greedy, insecure of
his place, keeping someone out of the team, etc.
Public memory is short but it needs recalling here
that Tendulkar played through the pain of a badly
injured finger during the 2003 World Cup and in fact
emerged the top scorer.
He suffered the injury on the disastrous tour of New
Zealand earlier that year but did not go public with
it before the mega-event for his own reasons that need
to be respected.
Now for Manjrekar to make comparisons with Brian Lara
and others makes for very sad reading indeed.
Tendulkar is mild-mannered and rarely reacts to
criticism. That he has chosen to do so this time is
hardly surprising, given the many years of sniping
that Manjrekar has indulged in.
Internecine warfare has always been the bane of Indian
society (and sport is no different)just look at the
way Jagmohan Dalmiya and Sourav Ganguly are going for
each other now that both are out of power.
No one should be treated as a holy cow, Tendulkar
included. But criticism needs to be rational, not
motivated and mean.