| Sachin Tendulkar after his century on Friday. (AP) |
Calcutta: Kapil Dev is of the opinion that Sachin Tendulkar shouldve had a couple of triple hundreds, at least (instead of a best of 248 not out in Tests); Michael Atherton believes Sachin is part of a protected/pampered species.
The sentiment being such, nobody can disagree with Kapil.
Atherton, however, has forgotten that he, too, wore a helmet and other forms of protection while facing Allan Donald and even the lesser speed merchants.
In fact, Brian Lara wore such protective gear, as well, and Ricky Ponting takes guard with adequate protection.
Actually, why would he not?
Lara and Ponting have been mentioned as they are the ones, from the present times, whore promptly compared to Sachin.
Kapil, though, holds the view (expressed through The Telegraph last week) that Sachin should only be compared to Sir Donald Bradman.
Its a point which may be debated from the beginning to the end of a season.
Sachin wont finish with Sir Dons Test average (an incredible 99.94) — nobody is ever going to match it, forget doing one better. Having said that, Sachin will still be ahead of Sir Don in some respects.
One isnt talking of hundreds (a mind-blowing 43 in Tests, 45 in ODIs) alone, but the way Sachin has been responding to the expectations of a billion and more people. The way he has been handling pressure for 20 years.
Sir Don, after all, didnt have to contend with anything even remotely close to what Sachin keeps facing. Nor, for that matter, did he have to keep adjusting his game from one form to the other.
The basics have remained the same, yes, but cricket is a lot different today. The challenges are immense and arent restricted to the 22 yards.
Moreover, as Sachin himself pointed out the other day, the challenges keep changing, too.
Having failed in the first innings of the latest Test series, against Sri Lanka, a challenge awaited Sachin in innings No.2.
On Friday, he responded in the manner of a senior-most pro-cum-mentor.
Indeed, during the course of a match-saving 100 not out in Motera, Sachin carried himself past 30,000 runs in Tests and ODIs.
Sachins three previous Test hundreds, incidentally, had helped India to wins — Hamilton, Chennai and Nagpur.
Its not just that another milestone has been reached, one more first authored. Whats most significant is that the bar has been raised.
Clearly, Sachin couldnt have started his 21st year as an international cricketer on a more statement-making note.
Atherton, perhaps, will take note.