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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 Indian camp.

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 own potential.

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.

More Views by Gulu Ezekiel
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