Tendulkar and the ‘clutch’ question

Three years ago, I spent an evening with a couple of passionate Indian sports fans in a pub in Chicago. A couple of drinks down the line, the conversation veered towards Sachin Tendulkar and that’s pretty much where it remained for the rest of the evening.

While all three of us were in complete agreement about Tendulkar’s greatness as a batsman, my friend Jay wasn’t entirely convinced about one point. Now I’ve heard several naïve criticisms of Tendulkar over the years (he’s a bad finisher, he’s not a matchwinner, he cares too much for personal landmarks etc) but Jay was a far more discerning fan who did his bit to elucidate his point with utmost care. Here’s the gist:

Most fans agree on what is a big game and what is not. There comes a time during these big games when most fans smell the moment, the moment when the game is balancing on the finest of threads. I have seen Tendulkar occasionally sense the moment and pounce on it, imposing his greatness on the occasion. But I feel I’ve seen him not seize these moments more often.

Jay was also a massive fan of the Chicago Bulls and while agreeing that the dynamics of a 22-man cricket match was entirely different from a 10-man basketball game, he felt he had seen Michael Jordan pull off ‘clutch’ moment after clutch moment – with championships at stake – with surreal consistency.

This is a qualitative argument – it’s difficult to pull out numbers for ‘big moments’ and impossible to compare these metrics across sports – but I think it’s pretty much the core of the criticism against Tendulkar.

While it’s impossible to question his gargantuan appetite for runs, the incredible longevity – has any sportsman spent more years of his life at the highest level in his sport (22) than he has not (16)?) – his phenomenal impact beyond the boundary, his equanimity in response to the stratospheric expectations and the überlegen dignity with which he’s carried himself, this clutch debate remains partially unresolved.

Jay also agreed that the Sharjah triumph in ’98, the ODI and Test series win in Pakistan in ’04, the Test series win in England in ’07 and against England at home in ‘08, the CB Series victory in Australia in ’08, the Test triumphs against Australia in ’98, ’01, ’08  – all occasions where Tendulkar contributed immensely to the team’s win – diluted his argument.

He also concurred that this line of reasoning would not have cropped up at all had India won the Chennai Test against Pakistan in ’99 or the World Cup final in ’03; that the discussion would have had a different hue if India had won the Barbados Test in ’97, the Champions Trophy final in Nairobi in 2000 and the Test series in Australia in ’08.

Now here’s my theory on this line on criticism: Had Tendulkar played in an earlier era, these discussions would have simply not come up. Not many dwell on Sunil Gavaskar’s clutch moments, simply because India weren’t expected to win in that era.

Tendulkar has been part of Indian teams that have approached the threshold, slipped miserably on it before eventually shedding the monkey off their back. So unfortunately every India slip-up has been a Tendulkar-could-have-taken-us-home moment.

Also, and this is a crucial point, Tendulkar’s entire career has been televised. The Indian fan has watched, with ball-by-ball detail, cricketers from other countries delivering in the clutch moments. The Indian fan has also seen legends from other sports – like Jordan, Zidane and Woods – wrap their wrists around history’s collar and throttle it into submission.

The Indian fan has seen Wasim Akram shatter the stumps of Allan Lamb and Chris Lewis when the moment arrived; he’s seen Aravinda De Silva embrace the moment in both the World Cup semi-final and final; he’s seen Shane Warne pull off a bank-robbery against South Africa in ’99 before flooring Pakistan in the final; he’s seen Ricky Ponting stamp his greatness all over the bullring at Johannesburg; and he’s seen Adam Gilchrist clutch his fingers around the moment in Barbados. He’s smelt the moment and he’s seen several greats seize it.

Tendulkar may be confronted with the moment over the next couple of games, though his greatness is assured irrespective of what happens at Mohali or Mumbai. Nobody in their right minds will question his place in the pantheon. He is one of the greatest cricketers to have walked the cricket field.

He been great across formats but I will personally remember him the most from one-dayers. I can’t think of a more perfect ODI batsman – toggling between aggression and consolidation, a master at finding the gaps and pacing the innings, effortless whether it’s nudging fours or hammering sixes, making the orthodox shots look cool and making the unorthodox shots look beautiful.

Ten years from now, when I think of Tendulkar, I will first think of him in his blue gear, taking strike in a noisy stadium, standing still, his shirt fluttering in the breeze, facing a fast bowler in a crucial game, the crowd hushed in anticipation.

I will think of him cutting through the tension, with a most efficient, economical movement across the stumps, flicking his wrists to take the ball from middle and race it behind square.

I will remember the moment. It maybe from Sharjah or Centurion or Sydney.

It may even be from Mohali or Mumbai. But by then it won’t matter. The goosbumps would have taken over, irrespective.

This post was earlier published in Clear Cricket

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85 Responses to Tendulkar and the ‘clutch’ question

  1. Yogesh says:

    Sid, spot on with the last two lines. Thats what my memory will be too. Mohali & Mumbai will be immaterial.

    The QF against Aussies is the best example for Tendulkar “clutch moment”. In an earlier era, it would have been Tendulkar scoring a solid century in a losing cause and Ponting scoring the 50 in a winning chase. The thing with great teams is that they know how to rally behind a champion and India always lacked it. When Australia loses, the entire team cops it but we in India always like to find one or two Bakras for the failure of a team. This is not just with cricket but beyond.

    All this thing of Tendulkar failing to nail a game started with Chennai 1999 and Barbados 1999 (Lara’s 153). Then on, people go searching for stats to justify this theory and turn blind to every other counter-stat. And it helps that the man really does not have any other weakness. A bit like how people accuse Kallis of being selfish.

    Also it does not help that the Indian media likes to deal in black & white adjectives. How often does one see “toughness” being used with Tendulkar ? Or that Tendulkar was in horrid form before the 2003 WC ? And Dravid’s failures in Bangalore tell what ?

  2. Anant Prabhu says:

    While we are on this, let us also remember that during the early years of Tendulkar’s career, we used to have some good cricketers like Kapil, Azhar, etc. but never a great team. So, this team used to win games on the basis of individual brilliance most of the times, but then individual brilliance never made a great team or a dominant winning team like Australia over the past decade or the West Indies of the 70s and 80s. When people talk of Tendulkar not having won games for India on his own, they forget that India got into winning positions in those because he performed brilliantly in the first place. Without his contribution in these games, the defeats would have been so heavy that no one would have raised this point of he not finishing enough games for India.

    In that era, I know many people who used to shut their TVs off after Sachin got out. It may still happen with some who watch the game only for him (not many cricketers in the world can boast of such a following), but then the current Indian team is much better and that in a way has allowed him to play more freely without having to think of what would happen if he got out, and that probably explains why he is in the kind of form that he is in for the past couple of years. Debates will always be there, irrespective of the wins, losses, or whatever, but Sachin has done enough to raise himself above all these debates, and there is no debating that.

  3. vishal says:

    Hey Sid,

    Forget clutch moments , how about a bit more brazen stat like tournament finals.

    http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/stats/index.html?class=2;filter=advanced;final_type=1;orderby=runs;template=results;tournament_type=3;tournament_type=5;type=batting

    When people comment about tendulkar not being good enough on big moments shouldn’t it necessarily mean there are plenty of others who fare better . Funny that !

    • Sam says:

      Thanks for that link Vishal. I have been too lazy to do that myself.. (honestly i never thought i cud pull that stat from cricinfo). I can slap this link now on any Tendulkar critics face, who even gives a whiff of a mention of his clutch moments.

    • sidvee says:

      But Vishal that’s the crux of the anti argument – it’s not about the amount of runs but the timing of when they’re scored. Of course, if you go by sheer volume of runs, there is no argument:)

      • BlueEarthCitizen says:

        (-:
        But Sid,

        Is timing it to coincide with a final not good enough, but timing it to a certain “moment” within the final the crux of the anti argument?

        Viahsl – this is a great stat. But, I can see the “antis” coming up with the fact that total number of runs are consequence of the sheer number of years he has played. Wish I could do a query adjustment to ensure that the players included had at least played 18 innings in finals, (the number needed to include Brian Lara).

        But since I couldn’t find a quicker way, I did a sort by number of innings played and glanced through the averages in the same data you unearthed. And the answer speaks as loud as can be, that Sachin is da man. Apart from Kirsten (who has a 60+ average), and Tendulkar is at ~55, no one else comes within touching distance including Ponting and Lara.

      • sidvee says:

        I mean, a final is clutch. But the problem is in correlating his performance with the team’s – a fact that’s often worked in favor of the antis:)

      • Sam says:

        Sid, if you look at the list carefully, it shows the no. of innings played in finals. That doesn’t leave any room for argument. Sachin and Ponting have played identical no. of innings in finals (which is kinda surprising stat for me, considering Aus have dominated for a decade). Yet, Sachin has higher Average in the finals.

  4. Prakash says:

    Another thing mentioned against Sachin is his 4th innings record, which prior to 2008 chennai test against england, was quite embarrassing for even the most devoted fan. Gavaskar’s time may not have had television, but his 4th innings record is there in black and white, way way better than Sachin. The only current indian player who does come close to that is VVS.

    • akshay says:

      That is yet another myth. There are many examples of 4th innings performances too, for now just read(or youtube) about Sachin’s first test century in England and the age at which it came.

  5. cricfan says:

    sachin is india’s greatest cricketer by a distance, but for clutch batting performances in the last decade, it’s got to be VVS, hands down. To sachin’s credit, he is a mentally much stronger batsman now, touch wood, and we wont see those bizarre dismissals when a wicket is gifted away at the most inopportune moment. In today’s odi team, we bank on zaheer more than anybody else. if zaheer has an off day we better get 350.

    • akshay says:

      mentally much stronger now!!!
      You smoking something!!!
      Read about his first test century (4th innings, coming at 4-5 down chasing 408, and only Manoj Prabhakar for the company), and other exploits in his young age.
      Watch his interview when he was being considered for West Indies tour ( to face Ambrose, Marshall, Walsh)!
      He has always been mentally as strong as anyone ever has been.

  6. KVJ says:

    I think they dynamics of a sport also play a role. There is nothing preventing Jordan from playing all the minutes in a basketball game. Even if he makes a silly mistake (e.g. missing a freethrow), he can still stamp his influence on a game.

    A single mistake from a batsman effectively means that he can no longer influence a game. I think it was Rahul Bhattacharya who said that the pathos in a batsman’s dismissal probably has no parallel in other sports.

    So rather than any cross-sports comparison,

    • TragicSachinFan says:

      I was thinking exactly the same thing regarding the Jordans, Zidanes and others who dont play as a batsman. As a batsman, you have one life. One mistake and you are done.

    • akshay says:

      Excellent point.
      Besides, one must think if the team is staring at clutch situation (in basketball) – then there was something missing in rest of the match.
      On the other side, in cricket, VVS(supposedly better clutch player than Sachin), gets to play clutch situations more often, simply because he bats lower in the order. And what about the matches, where the team does not reach in tough situation – does that mean Sachin ( or batsman up the order) were having party time??

      • Shravan says:

        Perfecto! When people were talking about Sachin’s games in clutch situations, same thing went in my mind. Of all the other games or tournaments Sachin played, imagine how many haven’t come to clutch situations? Weren’t they because of his good performances?

  7. Abhishek Khetan says:

    Lets look at this statistic – http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/stats/index.html?class=2;result=2;template=results;type=batting

    Sachin has scored the most runs by a batsman in a loss. Now you could say that sounds redundant because he already has scored more runs altogether in the ODI format, but then he has an average of 33.31 and only Chanderpaul (34.27), Miandad (36.05), Kallis(33.97) and Bevan(40.64) have a better average than him in losses.

    Another interesting statistic – he has most centuries in a loss than any other batsman. A whopping 13 out of his 48 centuries could not help India win (excluding 1 No result and 1 tie).

    The reason I wish to bring forward these statistics is to just prove that though he may have failed at times during nervy moments, his team has more often failed to stand up to him. According to me, people find his powers too good to digest. Expectations from him have to be inadvertently raised, so that they can live up to him (rather than him living up to the expectations).

  8. Rahul says:

    Good article. I donot think it is fair to compare a batsman’s clutch against a basket ball player’s. As a batsman, you are alone out there. The basket ball player or even a bowler like mcgrath/warne/akram has their whole team around them to deal with “clutch” moments.

    now ponting/gilchrist’s clutch – let us not forget a) they were batting 1st and b) had a totally super ballistic batting order. I mean gilchrist could bat like a man possessed and get out cheaply and no one would accuse him of anything – imagine the shot he got out to in 2003. if sachin got out to such a shot, there is no Indian capable of doing a Ricky ponting. similarly look at gilchrist in 2007 and think of the license that powerful team gives him. I think it is safe to say Sachin’s “clutch” is of a higher “clutch” league than the clutch ponting/gilchrist faced.

    I don’t think any single batsmen has experienced the sachin tendulkar “clutch”. just check the reception he gets every time he walks out. he has been followed like no other cricketer. not warne (50million eye balls to 2billion eyeballs? no contest) not bradman (1940s with 1990s/200s? hello?). these guys might be the closest to experiencing the “clutch” that SRT experiences. The clutch doesn’t come from the situation of a match alone. surely 350 to be chased in a WC final is more clutch than chasing 350 in a club match. Chasing 350 in a WC final with 1billion souls expecting you to deliver is much much more “clutch” than batting 1st for a team that might be the greatest ODI of all team.

    Chasing in a WC knockout is very very tough. Even richards, who is supposed to be so cool as a cat, threw his wicket away in chase of a paltry 183. atleast sachin managed 65 against SL in 1996 and 54 against aussies the other day.

    Also, those who say sachin “used to throw his wicket away earlier” – think about this :

    no one will ever accuse, steve waugh/michael bevan/michael artherton in tests/ gary kirsten and other such “gritty” (read also – ugly, boring defensive batsmen) of throwing their wicket away. these guys can play knocks that journalists can write about to inspire people but their knocks have zero aesthetic value. i would choose a gilchrist/sachin/lara/richards/ponting/sehwag or other such blokes who “throw” their wicket away more often than not because they play attacking cricket more often than not.

    I don’t care for winning as much as I care for “aesthetic value”. even for inspiration, i would draw more inspiration from people being “gritty” in the longer time-frame of a career than from gritty knocks that might last a few hours/days at best. In the “longer time-frame grittiness, most attacking players are as gritty as defensive players – you know in terms of coming back from loss of form, injuries and other such stuff that might derail your career!

  9. vishnu says:

    Cricket is a team game no one player can make a team win. Take the chennai test as example it is a tragedy that we lost 5 wickets for 15 runs, had they scored the runs, the knock would have been hailed as one of the greatest, is it his fault that the other 5 cannot score 15 runs. Team sport means everyone has a role you do not expect an opener to do everything and finish matches. Great victories cannot be achieved alone.
    In kolkata equally as important as laxman’s 281 were dravid’s 180 , harbhajan’s bowling, and even sachin’s spell of 3 wickets.
    The not performing in finals is equally absurd firstly stats in sachins case do not work as he has a huge amount of everything. 13 centuries in a loosing cause well but he has almost 50 centuries. Secondly at least in the 90’s it was his brilliance alone that carried us to the finals in the first place. Like in 2003 WC how can you even expect to win after conceding over 350? How can sachin be blamed for this surely the bowling could have done better.
    Great knocks need not be huge ones. The 38 he scored in nairobi against australia was a terrific one it set the tone for the match. To even suggest that he has not been a matchwinner is laughable.
    As we can see the team india at present is a good one and takes the burden off him and therefore you are seeing more of these so called match winning innings in the latter part of his carrer.

  10. Sriram says:

    To seize clutch moments, sometimes you have to create them. All on your own. In my opinion, this doesn’t get as much credit as it deserves. My favourite SRT innings is a good example of this — the 136 against Pakistan in Chennai, where he created a clutch moment but didn’t seize it. Let me explain.

    It’s a high-voltage test series between India and Pakistan after a gap of 10 years. India are chasing a daunting 270 in the fourth innings. Against Wasim, Waqar and Saqlain. They are 10-20/2 when SRT walks in. SRT has played a poor shot in the first innings and is under pressure to contribute. Saqlain tortures the other batsmen and eventually dismisses Azhar and Sourav. Wasim is a man from different planet — the ball to get Dravid is an all-time great delivery. India slip to 82/5. Tendulkar then plays a blinder with support from a madman. His back starts hurting and he can barely run. The madman tries to slog Wasim — yes, Wasim — and holes out to mid-on. The back cramps are unbearable and SRT is out with 20 odd runs to go. India lose. Yes, he didn’t seize the clutch moment. Bloody hell, there would have been no clutch moment to talk of if he had subsided for 36 instead of 136. That innings was the firmest one-finger salute that a man can give when all the odds are against him. Clutch moments can go where they want to, that is the innings that always gives me the most goosebumps.

    • sidvee says:

      Good points, Sriram. I agree that setting up the clutch moments are important too. I guess we have often expected him to both set up the moments and seal them – a predicament largely attributable to the poor support he received in the first part of his career. And yes, the 136 in Chennai remains my favourite Test knock of his.

  11. Graeme says:

    Sachin’s run accumulation and longevity is beyond question but all these stats should be considered against how many games your contribution has actually helped to win in those big matches against the quality opposition. Of course if you play hundreds and hundreds of matches you are going to mount runs up. However, its not longevity that inspires us but those few ‘clutch’ moments. Sachin has one possibly two of those games coming up, will he be brave or will try accumulate? How much his innings contribute to a win or loss will be interesting.

    The author, and some stats from cricinfo, mention some matches or series but you should also look at the opposition attacks and context. I’m not buying the DVD of SRT’s 83 against Kenya in ’03-even there Ganguly topped him with a century. Indian supporters talk about Sharjah but those matches were MEANINGLESS. They were scrubbed off the international menu for very good reasons. Also, sachin’s contribution against Australia in ’98 was heavy but the attack was the worst Australian bowling attack of the last 20 years. In 2001 the moment was seized by by Laxman and Dravid, the same two in Adelaide in the next series. The big moment came in Sydney and sachin chose runs over victory. Centuries or big innings in the 4th innings of a Test match are like gold, just look at Laxman’s innings over the last year. Sachin’s runs against the English in the last series at home were made possible by Sehwag’s brutal attack on the English bowling and Sehwag was made Man of the Match. Sachin is like the family car, churning out the runs, never looking like getting out, never breaking down-except when it matters-while he is being continually usurped by his batting team mates,Laxman, Dravid, Sehwag and co in the big moments.

    • sidvee says:

      Thanks for the comment Graeme. I don’t know how you can call the Sharjah games ‘meaningless’. Also, a batsman can only score against the bowling that is put in front of him – so I don’t buy that argument also. Regarding the ’01 series against Australia, Tendulkar scored an important hundred in the series-decider in Chennai – as clutch as they come. And while Sehwag no doubt set up the win against England, it required some cool finishing skills to seal the win.

      • Graeme says:

        Sachin’s a fantastic batsman, there is no doubt about that. It’s just that……mmm, his big moments more often than not seem( to me anyway) to come after someone else has breached the wall in tests. eg: Sehwag against England, India or Laxman/Dravid against Australia. Yes, I know Indian fans hold Sharjah dear but outside India that innings(and the rest of those meaningless games) just doesn’t resonate around the cricketing world compared to say Laxman in Kolkatta in ’01, Sehwags double in Sri Lanka or even his triples, World cup final centuries by Lloyd, Richards, De Silva, Ponting or Gilchrist. Now they’re DVDs I’d like on my shelf!

    • Tarun says:

      I guess those games are as meaningless as some of the silly Tri-Nation competitions held in Australia. Oh! Wait a minute, Didn’t Tendulkar score a century and win the CBA series in Australia as well in ’08? Totally meaningless matches, i tell you. What were they thinking?
      You’re argument that his scores don’t carry much weight because the others set it up is flawed. If Tendulkar had failed and the batting collapsed, you’d again hold his failure accountable. Of course, it’s all good if Ponting scores a century or a double hundred, after ‘plonk your front foot and hit through the line’ Hayden has laid a foundation.

    • Shom says:

      A ‘meaningless’ India-Australia final? Next, they’ll call the Miandad moment meaningless! So meaningless, that the Indian cricket team took more than a decade to get over it.

    • Prakash says:

      Austalian attack in the 98 is weaker than now..thats very ridiculous..go and ask Clarke how they miss the Warnie magic now..

  12. Kunal Talgeri says:

    While I agree with the blogger on television making the difference, don’t forget that we have seen the bowling deteriorate, particularly after 2003, when Wasim-Waqar-Donald retired. It is hard to replace these giants of the game who produced the challenge of the “clutch moments”. Shane Bond gave hope, but he didn’t play a lot against India for various reasons. So, McGrath was really the fast-bowling great of the 2003-06 era. It is only during Tendulkar’s incredible consistency from 2008 onwards versus an on-song Steyn, Malinga, Morkel and the unstable Aussie bowling that India has begun to seize the moments. The team stability has also helped Sachin — he calls this the greatest ODI team he has played with, post the CB series. Still, the sceptic in me can’t completely overlook the shortened boundaries, the flat subcontinent wickets. The day is not far when India loads its side with 10 batsmen alongside Zaheer Khan!

  13. Anabayan says:

    What I find so irritating is that when talking about Tendulkar, and for some reason it is only Tendulkar that is subject to this, it seems as if these so called ‘antis’ have a huge list of things to do. For example, never mind that he is an opener, the check list also has a finisher item. So it HAS to be checked. If he doesn’t do that, they pounce on him. Maybe the things that Sachin has done is so mind-bogglingly inhuman that by searching for some rationality within the numbers(or indeed his career) , they tend to lose theirs!

    • Kunal Talgeri says:

      @Anabayan: You are right. I have been a sceptic of Sachin since the 2001 series against Australia, mostly because I am looking for the human side of him. Does he err? Still, I am just as proud of Tendulkar.
      For some incomprehensible reason though, I find myself greatly attached to the Sachin Version 1.0 (1990-94) — the lad who saved us at Old Trafford (1990), the Perth classic, the audacious boy who played without a helmet versus the Kiwi medium-pacers on their soil in 1990. That was a Greek hero. Since 2001, there has been a charm in seeing him become mortal–only until 2008 when he rediscovered his mojo. But yes, there is that side of sceptics to find the human in an otherwise undisputed god.

  14. Jay Mo says:

    Sid, Sachin told me about this article… looking forward to the game today, lets see if the old man can grab the moment(s) and stop all these bar arguments…:)

  15. Amar says:

    Graeme and all: Cricket is a game of 11 men. It’s not a one man show. Winning depends on the kind of bowling attack a team has. Tendulkar and Lara (in his latter half) never had a dominant bowling attack – the kind like Richards, Miandad, Inzamam, Ponting, Steve Waugh, Kallis did. Indian bowling attack doesn’t even come close to some of the WI, Pak, S. African, and Aussie bowling attacks. To win consistently, a very good bowling attack is a must (not merely a good one). Take, for example, this WC – he played three of his best innings against the three best sides he faced in this WC (Eng, SA, and Australia; as opposed to against Bangla, Ire, Neth, WI) – and two of his brilliant, “clutch” centuries got wasted because the bowlers could not defend HUGE totals.
    He was the leading run scorer in the 1996 and 2003 WC and is currently on the leaderboards in the 20ll WC. What more “clutch” than the WC? It’s the pinnacle of the ODI competition.

    – My 2 cents

  16. Mehul Shah says:

    Sid,

    Great stuff, as always.

    On clutch moments, going by your examples itself – I would argue he has succeeded more than he has failed. Comparison with other sports is not fair when one mistake or one unplayable delivery can end your innings. The clutch times when I truly believe he failed to deliver is Chennai test against Pak. He was well set and with victory in sight (and no one else to follow), he played the shot he could have avoided. He could have gotten out to an Akram special but it was not to be. The other incident was 03 WC Final. Agreed the team conceded 358 but he looked defeated in mind. Two ugly hoicks in the first over and he was gone. Absolutely unfair to blame him for not winning that final but he didn’t even ‘try’. He didn’t believe in himself, very rarely seen.

    Going beyond the topic – I believe he is the great sportsman actively playing as of now. The closest one would be Federer – can really compare him with Sachin if he continues to play at the same level for next 5 years and wins 3-4 more Grand Slams!

    • Sam says:

      What are u talkin about when u say he looked defeated in mind at the start of the innings? He came up with a game plan to score a boundary in every over, and nudge 3 runs for rest 5 deliveries. He tried to execute exactly that in the first over to show his intent, and got out by a brilliant bowler. and i heard this from an interview of Harsha Bhogle.
      As far as your discussion goes about him failing to seize the clutch moment in Chennai Test, i would suggest you read Sriram’s post posted a couple of scrolls above.
      The thing with Tendulkar’s batsmanship is, the” clutch” moment only arises when he gets out. There doesn’t seem to be a clutch moment as long as he is on the crease, coz everyone feels safe. Even if he had scored a 100 in that WC’03 final and India still lost, you would have blamed him for not seizing the clutch moment. Maybe we should look at other batsmen, and question why they failed to grab those clutch moments created by Sachin’s absence on the crease.

      • Suhas says:

        “The thing with Tendulkar’s batsmanship is, the” clutch” moment only arises when he gets out. There doesn’t seem to be a clutch moment as long as he is on the crease, coz everyone feels safe.”
        Fantastic point, that pretty much explains why ppl ‘dont’ think he played a ‘clutch’ inngs.
        100 against pak in chennai, 100 and a 90 in the cb series, that 98 in WC , the two 100s in sharjah…and recently the inngs against Aus in WC11, i dont knw how u cannot count those as clutch games…

  17. godof86 says:

    I’d been a Sachin-baiter for a very long time…

    The Sachin v1 of the ’90s was almost repellant in his perfection. He could do every thing! And the only way he knew to win was the Sharjah way, as the one-man battering ram. The team around him, it seemed, was not inspired by his greatness, but was just dependant on him to pull off the win singlehandedly. Those wins would come, yes, but is there a doubt that those would be rare? There’s a reason there are 11 players in a cricket team, and we forget Scotty, and Grant and Kukoc. We even forget Rodman. And Deschamps, and Desailley and Blanc and Youri and Ronaldo and Raul and — hell what are we talking about here, France ’98/’00 and Real early ’00 were, with or without Zidane, some of the greatest teams mankind has seen.

    And then, somewhere in the early ’00s, Dravid grew up, and Dada grew up, and Laxman grew up, Sehwag came to town, and we realised the real worth of a bespectacled quickish legbreak googly bowler. I believe that was when the injuries and the pressure of a decade of a nation expecting him to haul a comatose team across the line, took its toll. We had the Pippen, the Grant and the Kukoc, but Jordan didn’t show up all the time. He still did sometimes! That 155* in Chennai, 1998 against Warne (my favourite Sachin innings), that legendary on-side double in Australia, the Shoaib demolition in 2003, were all Jordan moments.

    And then came the injuries.

    And then came Sachin v2. Sachin v2, is our Jordan. Now not quite our old Sachin however (the Sachin v1, that is), that much is true.
    But who doesn’t like Sachin v2? He sheet anchors with a strike rate of 100+, he does not deal in 6’s in T20’s, he scores with a strike rate of 30 for the first 150 balls in tests. And he scored 8 hundreds in a year, scores double hundreds in one dayers, finishes test centuries off with two 6’s, he makes Yuvraj Singh play responsibly in a second innings 300+ chase, he even scores the highest in the IPL. That’s not Jordan, that’s Rajinikanth.

    Perhaps. Perhaps that’s what we needed.

  18. Girish says:

    I remember reading an article from Richie Benaud and I think, it was written sometime during the Ind-Eng ’02 Test series, in which he says – In a great sportsman’s career, one tends to remember the failures more often.

    I don’t recollect it verbatim, but it was something along these lines.

    I can see how it is so relevant to SRT’s career. Despite all his achievements, he’ll be remembered by some (unfortunately so) for those things he couldn’t accomplish – tournament finals, critical games etc – being one of them. This one line – “So unfortunately every India slip-up has been a Tendulkar-could-have-taken-us-home moment.” – sums it all up about the weight of expectations, pressure that he as a player feels every time he walks out to take guard – Enormous ! Yet, he’s given us umpteen moments to cheer, cherish and celebrate time and time again.

  19. Pingback: Sachin v2 « Sporting thoughts and otherwise …

  20. cornerd says:

    “Cricket has this wonderful capacity to toggle between being a team sport played by individuals and an individual sport played by teams. Bring up any classic from the past and thoughts usually shift to a phase of play etched in memory. Think India v Pakistan in Kolkata in 1999 and you’re likely to remember Shoaib scattering Dravid’s and Tendulkar’s stumps. The moment mattered.” thus wrote a wonderful writer.

    At an individual level, you can only impact those moments and hope those moments prove to be the difference between a victory and a defeat for the team. And Sachin has done that more often that not – and a lot more than any other batsman that I have seen. It pains me to see so many people pointing out Chennai ’99 as evidence agt Sachin’s ability as a a clutch player. if anything it is an excellent evidence of that. Coming on the back of a first innings duck, chasing 271 against a pak attack that includes Wasim, Waqar and Saqi, on the last day of the test, with the team score at 82/5, with Mongia for company…(if I could also add the back spasms…ok never mind) if this is not raising your game, then what is?

    And now counterpose Lara’s 153 (IMO it’s a better innings irrespective of the result), 60 runs were required when Ambrose joined in – he had the support, not always, but on this occasion he had. And after Sachin left we had 3 wickets in hand and 14 runs to get. Lara was dropped by Healy 10 odd runs shy of the target, whereas Akram took the catch. Had Healy caught it, would Lara still be paying the price for it – I would guess not. Because he’s not scrutinized as much as Sachin is.

    The 98 agt Pak in Centurion apparently convinced a lot of skeptics…but think abt it…it could so easily have ended as a typical “Sachin doesn’t finish it off” story, if Dravid, Kaif and Yuvraj didn’t consolidate the chase after he left. Contrast that with 175 at Uppal agt Australia – the same old story. But the contribution of Sachin wasn’t much different.

    Think of 155* at Chepauk, the 4th innings hundred in the chase agt England at Chepauk, that wonderful 50 agt Aus in the Mumbai minefield, 155 at Bloemfontein…the list is endless…I don’t even want to be quoting them here…As an individual he’s raised his game in crunch games on more occasions than any batsman has done.
    More than the live telecast, it’s the lack of emotional involvement which helps us see players from other countries in better light. If you had as much emotional involvement in every innings of Lara, the story would be entirely different. Lara has failed to turn up for an entire series at times, forget the crunch situations alone. If Sachin had done it, we would have probably disowned him:)

    • sidvee says:

      Thanks cornerd. Thought provoking as always. Very good point about Lara being dropped by Healy, a point that’s often overlooked. And yes, I find it amazing how Dravid is often forgotten when people talk about Centurion in ’03 (actually Dravid is forgotten so often that I should not be surprised). And it’s the same people who forget Dravid’s contribution in Centurion who have a tendency to pinpoint Sachin’s failure to take the team home in Chennai in ’99 – a complete contradiction if you ask me.

      • cornerd says:

        On the point of Dravid not being given his due…an excerpt of one my old posts:

        http://cornerd.posterous.com/let-the-objective-observer-take-a-walk

        “It’s often said that Dravid in a Sachin obsessed country doesn’t get his due. Dravid went through a rather extended bad phase for a couple of seasosns towards the end of the decade after cruising through in top gear for more than 5 years in a row then. During that entire phase, not one prominent headline was there in a media known for hype over substance asking for Dravid’s head. We have even heard “Sachin should retire” or “Sachin should be rested” or “Endulkar?” slogans when he was going through a bad phase in the middle of the decade. But with Dravid we all knew, it was just a matter of time and if it’s not to be, then of all people, he knows best when it’s time to call it quits. The fact that we have treated him with such maturity is proof enough that this man has got his rightful place in the hearts of cricket aficionados. This kind of matured adulation is not for no reason though. Has there been a batsman as critical to the success of a team ever as Dravid has been to India in this decade? Kolkata, Headingley, Adelaide, Rawalpindi, Perth, Jamaica – Dravid shone in so many of Indian cricket’s defining moments. Also in my opinion, he was India’s best captain too. His cricketing acumen was impeccable, always game to take the gamble of a fifth bowler against an extra batsman, nurtured Dhoni into what he is today, brought greater flexibility and adaptiveness to the team. Has a series victory in WI and England under his belt in addition to the most number of consecutive successful run chases in ODI’s. Not to forget that he was the first victorious Indian Captain in Pakistan and South Africa. If a CV with so much to boast about is not fit for “Player of the decade”, then nothing is.”

      • sidvee says:

        Yes. Agree about Dravid in Tests. But can you say the same about Dravid in ODIs? Have his contributions (his wicketkeeping was often crucial to team-balance) been given their due?

      • Yogesh says:

        Given the obsession with stats in India, here is a stat worth pondering. In ODIs, Dravid averages 39+ at a SR of 71+ whereas Ganguly averages 41+ with a SR of 73+ in roughly 300 odd ODIS. Now given their respective batting positions, shouldn’t they be treated on par as regards their ODI status ?

        Ganguly had a wonderful first 5 years in ODIs and then a bit average while Dravid’s case was the reverse. As usual first impressions dominate. In India, we worship boundaries so much so that the man who bashes a boundary an over would be rated better than a player who scores 4 singles an over. Explains why we do not produce an Hussey or Bevan.

      • cornerd says:

        True. He’s hardly been given his due in ODI cricket. Dravid after the Natwest Trophy in England was a great ODI batsman (before that he touched greatness but never quite sustained it). And his wicket-keeping was critical in giving us the balance which played a huge part in our impressive show in the WC.

        As an aside, Dinesh Karthik’s stumping of Michael Vaughan is one of the greatest what ifs of Indian Cricket, no? If not for that, we would have probably continued with Dravid as keeper for some more time…That MSD came into the team was because DK established the importance of a specialist WK.

      • sidvee says:

        Not sure about KKD’s stumping being a critical moment. Sure, I hear your point about specialist keepers but Dhoni was too good to stay out for too long. He might have had to wait for a few months or so but would have been tough to not pick him. And thank heavens for that!

      • cornerd says:

        Yogesh,

        It makes for an interesting case actually. But leave aside the numbers, I would still believe Dada was a better ODI batsman because of his ability to score boundaries at will on most occasions, and more importantly play those big innings at greater frequency.

        you can always argue that he got a chance to pile up big scores coz he opened the batting…also that he wouldn’t have been able to bat as well as Dravid in the middle order…Both are valid points…But Dada had an X factor in ODIs…so I would put him slightly ahead.

      • Yogesh says:

        Cornerd, Fair points. I place them as equals as players in ODIs. Ganguly had the X-factor for sure but i think Dravid’s solidity was equally commenable in a volatile line-up. Ganguly had only 2/3 big scores worthy of note after 2001 even though he mostly batted at No. 3. The X-factor did vanish quite a bit after that. To me that is what evens out things between Dravid & Ganguly.

        On the whole, Ganguly-Dravid ODI comparison is not as b&w as portrayed in mainstream media. Say, a Sachin-Ganguly or Sachin-Dravid comparison in ODIs has a clearcut winner.

      • sidvee says:

        Fine points. Good Dravid stat. I’ve always felt his ODI performances are hardly acknowledged. But I would still place Ganguly slightly higher simply because of the options he offered – top-order acceleration, bowling and captaincy. I think our assessment of the two ODI careers would have been considerably different had Dravid’s ODI captaincy turned out differently. But again, that’s a story for another day:)

      • Yogesh says:

        Sid, Yes. Here is my corrected and more accurate statement. They are equal as batsmen but yes Ganguly was the better ODI player.

  21. Yogesh says:

    As Roebuck or Woodcock put, with Tendulkar the entire package is what puts him ahead of rest. He is not as good as Ponting against pace or as good as Lara against spin. He will not demolish attacks like Sehwag or Hayden or Gilchrist. He is not as good a stone-waller as Dravid. He is not as good as Laxman or Waugh in playing with the tail. He is not as consistent as Kallis. This is the problem with Tendulkar baiters. They ask that Tendulkar should do all this and more but with others their weaknesses are always dismissed.

  22. Yogesh says:

    These are the nine of Tendulkar’s test 100s in losses pre-2008.

    http://stats.cricinfo.com/statsguru/engine/player/35320.html?class=1;filter=advanced;orderby=batted_score;result=2;runsmin1=100;runsval1=runs;template=results;type=batting;view=innings

    Perth, 1992. Edgbaston, 1996. Cape Town, 1997. Wellington, 1998. Bangalore, 1998. Chennai, 1999. MCG, 1999. Bloemfontein, 2001. Sydney, 2008.

    See the scorecards, see the number of centuries in India column and you will see the same number in the opponent column. Not much of a difference. Check the result. That explains everything about it.

  23. Sunil says:

    The passion on this page, the post and the comments is absolutely admirable. As for me, I haven’t been following as much Cricket as I would have wanted to, especially since I moved to Europe, but I must say it has also given me the advantage of looking at a game, ( whenever I do that is) just on its own.

    The clutch argument is a clever one, especially when you are looking at someone’s accomplishments through a magnifying glass, but also, in itself, it is, for the lack of better word spurious. This is mainly because of the confounding factors within the nature of the game.

    Tendulkar is a Batsman; the ‘clutch’ moments ( either in a big or a small game), given the nature of cricket in the ODI format are really ‘clutch’ only in the second innings. If you look at it, there is no true clutch moment in the first innings. Unlike tests, You can’t really bat out the opposition to guarantee your team a victory – it’s not over until it’s over. The real clutch moments – to wrap the wrists around history’s collar and throttle it into submission as you say it – are mostly during the second innings, and as a batsman for Tendulkar during the chases. Tendulkar as a player has done remarkably well to contribute ( either to create or make these moments more accessible ) to his team for a long time, but India faltered purely for the lack of other planks and pegs around. Say, there was an occasional Dravid, R Singh, Jadeja cameo, but not a consistent performing unit to see them home. This only changes, slowly, painfully often surprising us all only after more talent started flooding in later. That’s why the Australians were so good during that time, and ruled the roost for how long they did. Say, one looks back at 96 WC and remembers Mark Waugh, but not a handy Bevan who help them progress, when Waugh had failed. Bevan did that quite often. Jadeja’s slogs surprised us as much as it shocked Waqar. It was freak and he neevr quite did it again, in any true sense.

    I believe we Asians, as much as we are perennially cursed to measure the great talents in our team often forget that Cricket is a team game. Instead we conveniently bank on the statistics – centuries, averages and what nots – all of which are meaningless unless one has actually watched those matches and therefore is able to measure up their weight in the cricketing world with some real discernment. Take today’s match – After today’s victory, statistics don’t really reflect the relevance of Sehwag’s onslaught or the Raina Cameo, or Dhoni scrambling his bowlers to perfection in the middle overs. They just show you numbers. UNLESS one has watched the match and is able to place them himself as discerning a viewer. One is just left to carry their memories to be added as a collective expectation for say, Sehwag, Dhoni or Raina next time around. The greatest of such baggage we have carried over a generation is for Sachin. Because he has quite often given those memories ( a Sharjah or a Nairobi or a quickfire against Oz in 96 WC ) which we have turned into our entitlement. His contribution, within the context of the game and his talent, has remained consistent – it’s the supplementary pool of talent that has emerged after 2000 has what made the ‘clutch’ moments change into victories for the team, regardless of whether these moments were capitalised/created by Sachin or not. And that really is cricket. Not one man being brilliant and going home to dejection. Say in today’s match he was forgettable and the team produced several clutch moments on its own during the second innings and seized them.

    As an aside, my personal admiration for Sachin is how he has been able to consistently sustain his cricketing genius with almost over two or even three generation of players who have/had totally different outlook on cricket. It was the same man who ran between the wickets with Sidhu and is now running singles with Gambhir. I don’t mean the longevity. I mean the adaptability – to change himself according to a different set of players and mindsets. Let’s ask ourselves how many of us can change ourselves in our chosen work so easily? One would expect him to be worn out after such variable assaults on his psyche, that he hasn’t is his genius.

    • sidvee says:

      Thanks for the comment, Sunil. Fine points right through. I do agree that the very definition of ‘clutch’ is a tricky one in cricket. There are clutch games (like big semis, finals) and clutch moments within those big games. As Vishal has pointed out in this thread, Sachin has done remarkably well in clutch games (even though India have gone on to lose many of those). Now Jay’s argument (which I state at the start of the post) is more about clutch moments within games, a judgement that requires one to actually watch the whole game and feel and smell the moment. No stats can really explain these moments. But as a fan, you know when they happened.

  24. Mayan says:

    Fundamentally, “clutch” as applicable to basketball is different from a batsman in cricket. In basketball, a player can miss most of his shots in a big game and still redeem himself with a shot at the end(and thereby qualify for being a “clutch” player). Thats not the way for a batsman in cricket. He only has one chance in a game.
    This is also the reason why stats such as average in finals are more revealing in determining how “clutch” a batsman in cricket is rather than individual moments from one or two matches.
    Being a batsman in cricket is fundamentally a more “clutch” job any day than any other sport I know of. Certainly more than basketball and certainly more than NBA basketball, where you get not only multiple chances in a game(due to the nature of basketball itself), you also get to play in best of 7 series(in the playoff/knockout phase including the finals).
    Being Sachin Tendulkar is a more “clutch” job any day than being any other batsman in cricket. Now, let’s go back and look at his numbers in finals. Look at his numbers on the big stage that is the World Cup. And that my gentlemen, is why this guy is one of the greatest sportsmen to have ever stepped on a sporting arena.

    • sidvee says:

      Thanks for the comment, Mayan. Sure, it’s impossible to compare clutch across sports but I think the comparison arises because that’s the only reference point one has when one is talking of the greatest of all time. It’s unfortunate but almost inevitable especially in this age of 24/7 live televised sport.

      • Mayan says:

        True. However, it really isn’t a fair comparison and just thought I would bring it up.:)

        If any further proof is required – http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2001/apr/22/sport.ameliahill

      • Yogesh says:

        The Amelia article is not too suprising. Thanks, Mayan.

        I think this calls for another blog by someone more aware of such things and looking into such finer aspects of the game. I think it is more the curse of celebrity business. So many movie stars marry go abroad and return back to the showbiz. I wonder if these statistics have now changed given the avenues in the game open for ex-cricketers.

        Ramachandra Guha said that “Gandhi will be the mother of all debates in modern India”. I think something of that order can be said about Sachin and Indian cricket. This blogpost proves that.

  25. Gads says:

    While I agree with the article, one thing that Sachin did a few times was making ordinary (or good) bowlers look great. Paul Harris was made to look like God Harris in SA. He has struggled against Ray Price. He was terrible against Kaneria in Bangalore ’05. It was painful watching Sachin make 16 off 98 in Bangalore against Kaneria and co. Yes, India could not have won; but why get bogged down and allow the pressure to get to oneself? Sachin did exactly that. He’s done this on few occasions and thats precisely why I wouldn’t rank him the greatest batsman. Great, yes; not God.

  26. Graeme says:

    Well, SRT now has 2 world cup final innings with scores of 3 and 18, seems to settle it for me.

    Gutsy ‘clutch’ innings form Gambhir and fantastic innings from Dhoni!! Now thats performing in the big game!

    • BP says:

      You can choose to focus on his 4 and 18 in 2 WC finals (without acknowledging the circumstances of each innings).

      Others may prefer to acknowledge that in 5 high-pressure World Cup games against Pakistan, he has made match winning contributions on 3 occasions … including arguably the most sublime innings ever in a WC chase (98 off 76 balls at Centurion in 2003 against the 2Ws, Shoaib & co.).

      Or that without his foundation-laying half-centuries in knock-out games against Aus and Pakistan, India might not even have progressed to the finals.

      In fact, be it ODIs or Test cricket, India’s rise in the rankings over the last 3 years owes massively to Tendulkar, who along with Zaheer Khan, VVS, Gambhir and Sehwag has formed the core group of match-winning contributors for Dhoni.

      • Graeme says:

        I would argue that the game in 2003 which SRT scored 98 was NOT a clutch innings. There was nothing up for grabs in that game for India. They were through to the second round and losing to Pakistan neither altered their position in the group or lost them points to the super 6s. In fact no matter what the quality of the innings it was in fact just a ‘net’ practice. A clutch innings more often than not comes in a knockout game against quality opposition.

        Also, what are the circumstances you have to acknowledge in those world cup finals?? In 2003 it was a massive score to chase but that’s the ultimate ‘clutch’ test, isn’t it? Also in this 2011 final it was just about the perfect score for a good game of cricket, if not a little short by 20 runs by SL. No excuses, top three positions are the best places to bat in ODIs(the opposite to test cricket where of course sachin doesn’t bat)

      • Yogesh says:

        India-Pakistan is a net practice ? Thanks for the joke ! For many that was the only match that mattered. So much so that Tendulkar was being reminded of that match 1 year in advance.

        “They were through to the second round and losing to Pakistan neither altered their position in the group or lost them points to the super 6s.”

        This is just hindsight. Probably you were aware that Pakistan-Zim match was going to be rained out but i am not sure of the rest. If Pakistan had defeated India and Zim (the rained out match), India and Pakistan would have finished on same points ! FACT is when India played Pakistan, the only thing sure was India’s qualification and India was going to carry at most 2 points. Please verify the context before making such statements and in the effort to rubbish Tendulkar, do not twist the facts.

        In the same world cup, no less a commentator than Harsha Bhogle said that Tendulkar’s most important innings was the 81 against Zimbabwe and not even the 98. If you know little about Ind-Zim WC history and as well as what India did in 2003 WC prior to the Zimbabwe match plus what happened to Kaif’s home, you would understand where Harsha comes from. Also, teams do not directly play a final. They need to win matches in between. Anyone who has followed India’s 99 WC will know where India’s WC was derailed. Or ask England about 99 and 2003 World cups. Or India about 2007 world cup.

        If batting at the top in ODIs was so easier, why are there only an handful who average 40+ in ODIs in the top order ? http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/stats/index.html?batting_positionmax1=3;batting_positionmin1=1;batting_positionval1=batting_position;class=2;filter=advanced;orderby=batting_average;qualmin1=50;qualval1=innings;template=results;type=batting

        This is simply an excuse conceived after the success of Jayasuriya and Tendulkar. Imran Khan, a man who knows a thing or two about the game, blasts Inzy, Younis, Misbah for batting lower down the order. Also, wonder why India has not done well at world cups when Tendulkar has not opened ?

        Now may i request you also not to come up with excuses of batting is easy in top order, Indo-Pak is net practice et al ?

        The clutch innings thing is mostly hindsight. Wonder how many people will call Mahela’s innings a clutch innings ?

      • sidvee says:

        Haha. I don’t believe this discussion is still going on.

      • Yogesh says:

        Even discussions on Sachin run for ages like the man himself ! Even the length of comments are unbelievable. Shows what a special person he is, not just to Yuvi, but to so many.

  27. BP says:

    Graeme, if you’re determined to stick to your position no matter what… that’s your choice. But I’m afraid you’ve lost all credibility by referring to India-Pakistan WC games as ‘net practice.’ From Imran Khan and Sunil Gavaskar to ordinary cricket fans on the subcontinent… everyone recognizes the massive (in fact unfair) pressure on cricketers involved in these contests. As Yogesh noted, the players were constantly reminded (in advance) about that looming contest for well over a year.

    As for the circumstances I alluded to… a) when you’re chasing 359 and have to attack McGrath and Lee from ball 1, you have to take risks that might not come off on a given day. b) Against SL, Tendulkar looked calm and in good touch… but credit to Malinga with the new ball… his away movement can surprise even the Best of right-handers, given his slinging action.

    The common thread being… high quality new ball bowlers will occasionally get the better of opening batsmen. And their chances of success improve if they have a strong total on the board.

    That’s it for me on this topic! But I wish, Sid, that you had acknowledged in your piece the difference between the unique challenge a batsman faces (even 1 mistake from you, or 1 piece of brilliance from a bowler / fielder can end your stay) vs that of a basketball or football player or even a bowler (who get continued and multiple opportunities to influence a game).

  28. BP says:

    Ok, one LAST last comment.:)

    Now that i’ve scanned some of the above comments, I’d like to respond to some more games and moments.
    a) Eden Gardens 2001… don’t forget that India had just about 2 sessions on the 5th day to bowl Australia out…and without Tendulkar dismissing Hayden, Gilchrist and Warne with his leg-breaks / googlies, India might not have realized that incredible win. (Though VVS, Dravid and Harbhajan were of course the architects-in-chief)
    b) Hero Cup 1994 (I think)… S/F against SA… last over… SA need 6 for a win… McMillan and Richardson at the crease… Tendulkar calls for the ball… Azhar, with Dhoni-esque intuition, concedes his wish… SA can only manage 3 runs against Tendulkar’s all-sorts! … India through to the finals. (Where Kumble destroys the WI and India win… but guess who clean-bowled Brian Lara earlier in the piece? Yep… same Little dude.)

  29. Amar says:

    @ Graeme: Ind-Pak match as ‘net’ practice? Hahahahahaha! You, sir, would never understand this rivalry. Lifes are usually at stake in this rivalry – a lot of fans from both countries have died after a win/loss.

  30. Graeme says:

    You guys!! The article-at least how I read it-was about performing in big matches with a series, Test or ODis, at stake, the loser goes home. Pakistan and India might be huge matches but believe or not there is not a title of any given series riding on every Pakistan-India match! Get some perspective!

    • Yogesh says:

      Finals are big matches but they are not the only ones. Indo-Pak in a world cup is always a big match else why are two countries declaring holidays ? For Indian team, the big matches are not what Australians or English or Martians or their media consider, it is what the Indians, Indian media et al consider as big matches. Indo-Pak match in a world cup after 2-3 years is as big as it gets. The teams so-called pressure comes from there. It is just as England placing Ashes high above WC.

      And also, there was potentially 2 carry over points at stake in that match and Pakistan’s place in super six. If Pakistan had won against Ind & Zim, India would have gone to super six with 0 points and very little confidence.

    • Amit says:

      If that WAS the idea, then NBA should not even be followed outside US, right? After all, its some part of a state fighting for a national title. Do you care about Victoria defeating South Australia or something like that?

      Some rivalries, some touranaments, some matches – they create occasions. If they don;t (like a typical Kenya Bangladesh match), you lose them in the sands of time.

  31. kabir says:

    why does nobody ever write about sachins heroics during the hero cup in 93 ?

    The man has BALLS … and he proved it when he bowled that magical last over ..
    THAT IS HOW I AM GOING TO REMEMBER SACHIN …

  32. Pingback: Greatness, legend and history’s judgement | ________________

  33. Thanks for the wonderful article Sidvee and to the discussion that followed. I was reading an article on Cornerd’s blog and a link drove me here.

    @Graeme who thinks India-Pakistan game is a net practice, should do some reading on the history of India and Pakistan, partition and wars both countries waged against each other. India is at war against Pakistan on a daily basis. Thanks for revealing your bias against Sachin!

    I had a great time reading all the comments!

  34. Pingback: The tipping point… | i3j3Cricket :: A blog for fans of Indian cricket…

  35. Pingback: Clutch Redux | i3j3Cricket :: A blog for fans of Indian cricket…

  36. Gautham says:

    More than a generation of Indians (not only Indian cricketers) have CLUTCHED a cricket bat thanks to one man. Every single day since the early 90’s, to date, there’s a child somewhere in India or the world that clutches the bat trying to emulate one back foot punch or one on drive. Sachin will have clutch moments, long after he hangs up his boots.

  37. Gautham says:

    And on that note….
    Sachin Tendulkar made me want to pick up a bat, MJ made want to shoot hoops and Edberg, a tennis racquet. Nirmal Sekhar, Rohit Brijnath and now you, Sidvee, make me want to pick up a pen!

  38. Pingback: Be bold, be practical, do the right thing | ________________

  39. Pingback: Part – II: God and the Argumentative Indian | TokNok India

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