Monday, May 21, 2007

Heads I win, tails you lose

Is it not a no-win situation for people like Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly? When they score century against the minnows, Bangladesh, one can clearly see smirks on the faces of cynics, thru the articles they write and the sound bytes they give. Their rant is ‘what good is a century against Bangladesh?’. I can bet my life that the same people would have taken their knives out had these two batsmen fallen after scoring 40 runs. They’d have said that Sachin and Sourav cannot score big against the minnows as well. Clearly, a century also doesn’t help these two fine batsmen, possibly the greatest ever opening partners in the history of ODIs.

I fail to understand a simple thing. If Bangladesh is so worthless a team, why were these players considered unworthy of playing against them in the ODI series that just preceded the tests? The board and the selectors had clearly thought that they weren’t good enough to play the ODIs. They needed just one innings to assert themselves again. So what if it was against Bangladesh? Gambhir will cement his place to Ireland and England to play the Proteas and the English because of his century against the same Bangladesh. But when it comes to Sachin and Sourav, critics will say that they should still be kept out as they score against the minnows only.

This statement that, SG and SRT score against minnows only, is so flawed. If we look at their ODI records, Sachin has scored 82% of his runs against the major nations and Sourav has scored 75% of them against the major nations. By the major nations I mean, Australia, England, Pakistan, New Zealand, South Africa, Sri Lanka and West Indies. How flawed and hollow all those minnow statements look. And each and every great batsman in the world has fantastic records against the minnows, be it Jayasuriya, Ponting or Inzy. The reason why they are great batsmen, is that they have heavily scored against the other major nations also. I simply fail to understand why critics in India look at the stats of Sourav and Sachin so dogmatically.

Isn’t it a heads I win, tails you lose situation for Ganguly and Tendulkar? Despite being performers, they are ridiculed. Man of the series awards against the Windies and Lankans also counts for nothing. A century against Bangladesh counts for nothing. But when Gambhir scores a century against the same team, he is hailed as the opener for the future.

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