Applaud and preserve Sachin-like champions — can we?
Tendulkar’s batting magnificence has been chronicled so much over the years that anything written about him generates as much passion as he does on any cricket field.
But with such performances come expectations. So much that almost every time this champion comes in to bat, high expectations generate a sort of fear — in the stadium, homes, TV stations, internet and wherever he is revered.
If he failed to perform, disappointment and even a rare criticism would follow.
His every shot, movement and stint on the ground is monitored not by commentators and experts alone, but by every single cricket fan.
In a country like India, where people’s emotions are driven by instant self-gratification, the fear of criticism after singing paeans is inevitable.
Tendulkar has had a fair share of brickbats and criticism – for his performance on the ground and otherwise.
In 2003, there was a huge outcry in India with huge protests against a waiver given to Tendulkar to import a Fiat car.
Less than three years ago, the same TV channels which usually spend hours discussing his performances, showed him about to cut a cake decorated with the tricolour flag of India. And he was greeted with protests and salvos.
A year later, Tendulkar’s place in the national side was being questioned.
And most recently, the champion’s integrity was being questioned when a political party warned him to stay away from politics.
But all this has rarely affected Tendulkar’s behaviour on and off the field. He remains humble and warm, polite and obliging, after every spectacle he produces in an attempt to win his country a match.
But can we assure Tendulkar and champions from other sports and walks of life a sort of respect forever?
Can people in India be mindful of preserving their excellence?