Brand bigger than runs when it comes to Sachin

Despite a string of poor scores, Mumbai Indians can't drop him.


With Sachin Tendulkar, it's never safe to speculate. It can come back to haunt you. He's proved himself over and over again in his long career. And it's time for him to do it again - this time in the Indian T20 league. This season has seen a trend among the big-name non-performers to opt out of games of their own freewill, and this has brought pressure on the Mumbai Indians stalwart as well, especially after skipper Ricky Ponting chose to bench himself.

With a scoring sequence of 23, 0, 1, 44, 1, 54, 2, 23, 9 and 14 -- 171 runs at an average of 17.10 -- Tendulkar's performances this season have been below par. He has shown glimpses of his old self, got a few starts, but hasn't been able to produce those defining knocks.

Changed role

In limited overs cricket, in the second phase of his career, he was highly successful anchoring the innings with the rest of the batsmen playing around him. It was the role he had also mastered for Mumbai Indians.

This season, he's come out looking to take on the bowling from the word go. He's not looking to playing himself in as he used to. The intent has been to dominate and set the tone for the game.

He's managed a few cameos but the failures have been more. Not ready to lower a gear, he's not getting his shot-selection right. An example was Wednesday's game against Sunrisers when he committed himself to playing a forcing shot but was unable to adjust when Ishant Sharma's ball nipped back sharply.

Having turned 40, it is only to be expected that his failures are linked to age and slowing reflexes. South African greats Graeme Pollock and Barry Richards feel age is a factor, and they commented on it in their facebook posts while discussing Tendulkar's performances in this T20 event.

Big brand

Now, the simple solution would be to follow the Ponting and Gilchrist example. But that is not an option for Tendulkar. It's an event where the brand is more important than the player's performance, and Tendulkar is indispensable on that count. His mere presence has got home team fans cheering for the opponents. This has been witnessed in every away match he's played.

Analysing Tendulkar's form, his former India manager, Ajit Wadekar, said: "He's like Sunil Gavaskar, a great student of the game. If he is unhappy with his game, he would go to the nets and work till he gets everything right. He thinks and analysis his game in great detail and would have analysed why he's getting bowled. But the issue with the T20 league is there is no time to work on your game."

Wadekar, though, admitted pressure could be playing on Tendulkar's mind. "I have never seen him get affected by pressure but sub-consciously all the criticism could sometimes affect a person. He's been too aggressive sometimes."

On the option of resting himself for a few games, the former India captain said: "Tendulkar can't be compared to Ponting or Gilchrist because he is a huge motivating factor. He brings more than runs to Mumbai Indians. He's an inspiration for the team. He started the Mumbai Indians story and it's his dream to help them win the league before he retires."

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times. TAG:CYCSPL

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Bangalore lose nerve, lose game

Bangalore lose nerve, lose game

IPL 7, GAME 11—Vinay's over, Lynn's catch turns last-over finish in KKR's favour. More »

Boycotting IPL will not save cricket

Boycotting IPL will not save cricket

Boycotting the IPL as a means of protest against the grime in the game may not yield the desired results. More »

Jadeja spins out Rajasthan in close chase

Jadeja spins out Rajasthan in close chase

IPL 7, GAME 10—Chennai beat Rajasthan by 7 runs after last-over scare. More »

Gambhir a knock away from striking form - KKR coach

Gambhir a knock away from striking form - KKR coach

Gautam made an eight-ball duck in the opening game against Mumbai and in the second game against Delhi, he lasted only half those balls. More »

Rivals say Srini group delaying BCCI special general meeting

Rivals say Srini group delaying BCCI special general meeting

The group opposed to Srinivasan alleged that since BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel belongs to the president’s group, he was intentionally delaying the SGM… More »

April 24: A legend is born

As Sachin Tendulkar turns 41 - here's a look at some offbeat moments from the Master Blaster's innings. More »

Cleaning up the game starts with fans

Cleaning up the game starts with fans

... because, as recent events reveal, the BCCI has little intention of doing it. More »

SL in 'difficult place' after Farbrace exit

SL in 'difficult place' after Farbrace exit

Sri Lanka depart for assignments in Ireland and England in two weeks, and Sanath Jayasuriya suggested Marvan Atapattu would be interim head coach for those… More »

Chandimal axed as T20 captain

Chandimal axed as T20 captain

Sri Lanka's cricket selectors on Wednesday sacked Dinesh Chandimal as Twenty20 captain and replaced him with Lasith Malinga, while Angelo Mathews was… More »

Vithanage, Priyanjan get T20 call-ups

Vithanage, Priyanjan get T20 call-ups

Herath has been rested, while the team will be without the veteran pair of Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara, who retired from T20 internationals… More »

'BCCI should have picked panel with care'

'BCCI should have picked panel with care'

Dalmiya said that it was the first time that the BCCI had been faced with a situation where the apex court had hauled up the Board and it should have acted… More »

Farbrace is England's assistant coach

Farbrace is England's assistant coach

The ECB continued the restructuring of the England coaching set-up on Wednesday by announcing the appointment of Paul Farbrace as assistant coach. More »

SC asks Mudgal committee to continue

SC asks Mudgal committee to continue

Mukul Mudgal has communicated to the court his willingness to take up the investigation and has been asked to specify the terms and modalities on April… More »

Sri Lanka players resolve pay dispute

Sri Lanka players resolve pay dispute

The pay dispute between Sri Lanka Cricket and its 13 contracted players ended on Wednesday when the latter agreed to accept 10 percent of the participation… More »

Hope to be fit for next game - Pietersen

Hope to be fit for next game - Pietersen

With two heavy defeats at the hands of Bangalore and Chennai, Daredevils currently languish near the bottom of the table. More »

'SC decision could hurt BCCI's status'

'SC decision could hurt BCCI's status'

The Supreme Court prefers that the Justice Mudgal panel further investigate the IPL corruption scandal. More »

Mudgal panel drops bombshell in court

Mudgal panel drops bombshell in court

The Mukul Mudgal probe committee dropped a bombshell in the Supreme Court on Tuesday by making a sensational claim that it was forced to stop audio recording… More »

Perfect Punjab trounce Hyderabad

Perfect Punjab trounce Hyderabad

IPL7, GAME 9—Maxwell (95, 43b), Balaji (4-13) set up 72-run win. More »

Have the ECB played an unfair game?

Have the ECB played an unfair game?

Money talks, but it is in light of this ICC shakeup that the ECB's act of soliciting of another team's coach deteriorates from free-market aggression to… More »

Farbrace quits for England post

Farbrace quits for England post

He will assist Peter Moores who was unveiled as the new England coach on Saturday. More »

Moin appointed to manage Pakistan team

Moin appointed to manage Pakistan team

Pakistan on Monday reappointed Moin Khan as chief selector and manager of the national team, a week after fellow former captain Rashid Latif turned down… More »

Chennai smash Delhi for first win

Chennai smash Delhi for first win

IPL7, MATCH 8—Raina-led middle order, superlative catching give CSK a 93-run win. More »

'BCCI reputation lowest in 80 years'

'BCCI reputation lowest in 80 years'

The former BCCI president says he was "disillusioned" by the happenings at the emergent working committee meeting on Sunday. More »

Injured Bravo to miss rest of IPL

Injured Bravo to miss rest of IPL

Dwayne Bravo is set to be sidelined for at least four weeks due to a shoulder problem. Bravo sustained the injury when attempting a catch on the boundary… More »