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LIVING UP TO EVERY EXPECTATION

Sachin: The Story of the Worldís Greatest batsman By Gulu Ezekiel, Penguin, Rs 250

Gulu Ezekielís Sachin is the authorís tribute to a cricketer of genius. Quoting extensively from first-hand sources, Ezekiel has traced the cricketerís life in great detail. The result is a compendium of facts and figures woven into a lucidly written narrative.

Tendulkarís greatness as a cricketer is well proved by now. Ezekielís achievement in this book is to reveal the greatness of the man.

A cricketing saint, if ever there was one, Sachin Tendulkarís obsession with the game could even be called narcissistic. And yet, even while earning millions of rupees and the admiration of millions, there are instances which prove that he is as simple and down-to-earth as he was before he was claimed by fame. No circumstance overawes him; no amount of public expectation affects his composure. Attached to his family and respectful of elders, Tendulkar is indeed a role model for the times.

Not a word of irreverence comes out of that child-like voice. Yet he is bold enough to say that he did not get the support of senior players when he was leading the Indian team.

Sachin Tendulkar as captain has not been as successful as people would have liked him to be. But like Abhimanyu in the Mahabharata, he was thrust upon the job because no one else was found worthy enough. He also became a victim of his own reputation as a batsman.

Now with 100 tests and thousands of runs, he is set for higher goals. Therein lies the problem. Being a symbol of victory for millions of Indians, he is expected to live up to even the unrealistic aspirations of his countrymen.

Not only Indian cricket, but world cricket too rests on his robust shoulders. The sponsors, the media and the spectators realize and appreciate this. It is only the cricket administrators who seem to be wary of acknowledging the truth ó but even they have had to come round.

Sachin Tendulkar emerges finally as a prisoner of his own genius.

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