Though I’m not a hardcore cricket fan, I recently watched a few matches and lo! Sachin is just the same!! His simplicity, humbleness, adaptability, schoolboy-like enthusiasm is off comparison. He recently crossed 30,000 runs in international cricket. And I’m pretty sure, he’ll soon hit a 100 centuries.
On the recent bloodshed in Maharashrta, Sachin humbly said- “I am a Maharashtrian and I am extremely proud of that. But I am an Indian first. And Mumbai belongs to all Indians.” Thackeray warning Sachin to confine himself to his game and not make political statements was such an unfortunate event! Look who he was addressing- A person who being the centerfold of Indian media for past 2 decades, and managed not to get into any controversy! Can you remember one controversy that relates to Sachin? Ball tampering incident? that backfired on Mike Dennes himself. Ferrari customs? Well… Sachin paid his dues. Sachin- being in limelight for 20 odd years, has managed to stay clean. Not just that, Sachin sponsors 200 underprivileged children every year through Apnalaya, a Mumbai-based NGO associated with his mother-in-law, Annaben Mehta. He’s probably the only man in history after Jesus & Nepolean who is addressed by his first name.
Turning against Sachin maybe the greatest political mistake Thackeray has committed, and it perfectly suits his right wing dim wits. Recent allegations of Sanjay Raut against Sachin are even worse- “There has been no instance of Sachin extending a helping hand to other Marathi cricketers. Forget others, he did not even support Vinod Kambli. In contrast, Gavaskar when he captained India, had half the team drawn from Mumbai and Maharashtra. He gave Test caps to many Marathi players including Suru Naik and Zulphikar Parkar at least for one match. In this context, Gavaskar is a genuine ‘Maharashtrian’ and the whole country loves him even now in the same way,”
In a country, 70% of whose population is young, where politicians are generally hated and cricket is loved – challenging Sachin might be the biggest mistake one can commit. I’d love to see the way it all ends.