Sachin Tendulkar and World Records - The Longest Crawl
What is this fascination with Sachin and world records? Sachin has been inching closer to the world record number of runs in Test Cricket, which is currently held by Brian Lara (11953). Well, this inching has been going on, and has metamorphosed into crawling, in the past 6 innings. When the undergoing Australia-India Test series began in Bangalore, he was even closer, 77 runs behind (11877 runs before Australia series) the world record.
So, how close is really close? 64 runs? Sachin has crawled closer, by getting dismissed for 13 "valuable" runs, on the 3rd day of the Test Match today. Media hype will never come to an end, and Indian media has always been one for individualistic achievements. So what if India lose the series against Australia. Sachin overhauled the world record during the series. That will be the highlight. How does it matter, if Sachin took 8 innings to crawl his way to the World Record.
Even as Sachin is crawling towards that pinnacle of achievement, it is but a mere formality as to when would Ponting (10222 runs before Australia series) race past Sachin in record number of runs in Test Cricket. Ponting has been phenomenal in the past 4 years especially, raking up a world record 16 centuries as captain alone in this period. So, really what World Record are we talking about here? Test fans, especially in India and the Indian media should be realistic and accept that Sachin will not hold the world record number of Test runs (Ponting is 2 years younger to Sachin) when he retires from Test cricket.
What would be more worrying for Sachin is, his fall from near immortality on the cricket field, to being reduced to being speculated on his own retirement. This does reflect the harsh change in times, when performance speaks, more than just records. Times have indeed changed, and Ganguly was virtually forced to retire during the ongoing Australia test series. Maybe Sachin should be said, that this is his last chance of having a test series to clinch the World Record from Brian Lara. Or, seeing Ponting's exceptional achivements (his first hundred in India coming on the first day of the current Australia test series) in terms of runs galore in Test cricket, would Sachin's retirement be much sooner than ever expected ?
Selectors, are you going to give Sachin a chance to hold the World Record once, or be realistic and drop him if he fails to perform in a series of matches? Do the new set of selectors have the guts to drop Sachin? Well, that's the question which begs to be answered.