Thursday, November 06, 2014

Things to expect from Sachin Tendulkar's autobiography "Playing It My Way"

If you are an Indian Cricket fan, there are reasons for you to be excited about these times. This applies not only to the die-hard followers of world cricket but also to those casual lovers of the game who know a cricketer by the name “Sachin Tendulkar”. After all, God of cricket himself is publishing his own story!

Sachin Tendulkar Autobiography Playing it my Way

The usual hyping of the book has already started with Greg Chappell as the proverbial “lamb to the slaughter”. Personally, I take it as sweet revenge from Indians who are usually on the receiving end of controversial autobiographies released by international players. Sale of a product is directly related to the hype it gets just before the launch, although I see no reason why you need to hype Sachin Tendulkar’s book.

When Sachin came on to bat, we stopped everything we did and watched in awe. I anticipate the launch of his book will also evoke the same response. This could well be one of the most celebrated autobiographies’ of the 21st century. Here are some of the things we can expect (and cannot expect) from “Playing It My Way” – 
  • A largely non-controversial account – Lets understand, its Sachin Tendulkar’s book. His career has been non-controversial most of the times. In all the controversies that he was involved was in, he was usually a by-stander / witness / was a genuine mistake. It’s evident even in the title of his book - “Playing It My Way”. Unless media tries to read beyond the lines, I expect this book to be a happy, sad and motivational account of his cricketing life.
  • Sharjah Heroics – If you were born in the 1980’s and were in a position to understand Cricket beyond the usual bat-and-ball game during the Sharjah series, you will know that Sachin Tendulkar surprised all of us by playing not one, but two back to back innings to ensure India win the final of a series when we were not even expected to reach the finals. In the last match before the finals, India needed to score a certain number of runs to even qualify for the finals. As always, we lost early wickets. But we had Sachin in the middle. What followed next was epic. And is still epic. What happened in the finals was more than epic! If Sachin is writing his book, I expect a special mention of the Sharjah matches. 
  • Captaincy phase – Even the most successful person will have a phase that he will regret. A phase when he failed – big time. In between all those centuries and all those record-breaking feats, Sachin Tendulkar had a rather forgettable phase when he captained India. I know for sure Sachin will include this in his book, especially after the hype surrounding Greg Chappell. We all know he didn’t succeed as anticipated. What does Sachin think of his captaincy?
  • Controversies (Ball tampering / Monkey gate) – Succeeding and surviving in Indian cricket came with its own share of controversies and doubt. Sachin was involved in the unfortunate ball tampering incident. He was a witness in the monkey-gate incident involving Andrew Symonds and Harbhajan Singh. He was part of the team during the match-fixing saga. I don’t think Sachin will delve too much into all this but I hope he does.
  • India declaring when Tendulkar was 194 NO – Yes, this actually happened. India is not used to such declarations. We allow our heroes to achieve their personal milestone (sometimes at the cost of winning the match). Rahul Dravid was the captain then. Tendulkar was playing well on 194 when Dravid called the team back and declared the innings. Sachin’s instant reaction which was also captured on camera was utter disbelief. I am not sure why, but something didn’t go as per plan. It’s easy for the spectator to assume that Sachin wanted to score his 200 before declaration. I would like to know what Sachin thought of it then and why was he angry / disappointed.
  • Vinod Kambli – Remember him? I do - that stylist left-hander who started his career better than Sachin with two back to back double centuries against England. Back then, I felt (and still feel) that Kambli was a better cricketer than Sachin. Sachin succeeded in the long run primarily because of how he handled success. Sachin remained grounded throughout his career. Kambli went on a different trajectory. Things went from bad to worse in their friendship which none of us are privy to. During Sachin’s farewell speech, he didn’t even mention Kambli’s name. Kambli made his thoughts known by proclaiming Sachin left him when he was needed the most. Anyways, that’s personal. I will be surprised if Sachin mentioned Kambli in his book.

Looking back at Sachin’s illustrious (and long) career, there’s bound to be many questions which didn’t receive any response from the master-blaster. He has carried the hope and prayer of billions of Indians worldwide and is now giving it back to Indian sports in more ways than one. We have followed Sachin's cricketing career throughout and are well versed from a 3rd person account. It will be interesting to relive the same stories from the legend’s own perspective.

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