The venue won't matter

Sachin Tendulkar's 200th Test will be a big occasion wherever it is played.

The writer with a young Tendulkar.

With just a few days left for the cricket season in India to begin, there is a sense of anticipation all round. This could be a terrific year for Indian cricket or it could be a downer as 2011/12 was.

The announcements of the various teams by the selection committee shows that it wants everybody, including the experienced players, to get a fair go at proving themselves. It is indeed a laudable move, for nobody should be made to feel that he does not stand a chance to play for India.

What has to be understood is that it should never be just one game that should decide a player’s fate. Far too often, have we dismissed a player’s chances for national recognition if he fails against a touring team. He could just be unlucky and what is crucial to see is how consistent he has been throughout the season and the years earlier.

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Many times players have also been chosen on the basis of a good performance against the touring teams and then found wanting at the highest level. A lot of touring teams can be clever and deliberately play badly against a player who is running against an established one for a place in the team. Then, when the newcomer gets in, he is taken apart. It is an old trick and can be seen by the number of one- Test wonders in Indian cricket history, especially at home.

With the West Indies confirming their tour, it is certain that Sachin Tendulkar will play his 200th Test in India. There has been a lot of speculation all around as to which venue will get the honour of hosting the game.

The officials of some associations have started a campaign of sorts to get the Test at their respective grounds, and lately there have also been reports that it will be left to ‘The Master’ himself to decide which city should host his 200th Test match.

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That is palpably unfair on him as he simply cannot afford to show that he prefers one city over the other. It will be deliberately twisted and turned around and made capital of by some who, as always, will have their own political agendas. And seeing that he has stayed away from such controversies, he will, I’m sure, not be tempted into nibbling at this one outside the off stump.

I recall vividly what happened about the presentation of the ‘Maharashtra Bhushan’ award to me when the minister for culture, who was from Nagpur, decided to have the ceremony there, which was fine by me.

I had earlier hoped much before the decision was taken that the ceremony would be held in Mumbai, since it would enable not just my family but also all those who I grew up with and who had played such a major role in my career to share in that joyous moment. The award was not just mine but also theirs, as well as all those from every walk of life all over the world who had contributed to my career.

COMMENT: Tendulkar a prisoner of his own fame

It was twisted around so badly and quite deliberately that it was forgotten that I had spent one of my most important cricketing years in Nagpur and had great cricketing memories there and so was quite happy to get the award there.

Frankly, it was such a huge honour that I would have been privileged to get it anywhere in India and not just Maharashtra. So too ‘Tendlya’ will just say ‘leave that ball alone’.

PMG. Reproduced from Mail Today. Copyright 2013. MTNPL. All rights reserved.

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