Dear SRT

Rahul da CunhaDear Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar (aka SRT), It’s ironical, that the other great Indian icon has similar initials, SRK. It’s also ironical that you’re both facing similar problems, though yours is more immediate.

No one’s asking SRK to retire, but there is a request for him to at least stop trying to play teenagers and romance the likes of Miss Katrina and Miss Priyanka around the Swiss Alps. But that’s a side bar, subject for another column – why are our actors so scared of playing their age.

Back to cricket. Sorry, Sachin, look, I don’t want to be anotherannoying amateur selector demanding you to retire. In this country, every cricket fanatic from Varanasi to Vizag, has a view on you. And it must piss you off.

Illustration/ Amit Bandre

But I watched Axl Rose, last Sunday. Yes, it’s true that he rocked for three hours. Now while that is amazing for a 50 year-old, the purists at the MMRDA Grounds that night, lamented his loss of vocal range and his ability to take the high notes. The vicious even called him a has-been, an over-the-hill rockstar.

That’s the reality, dude–the supremely gifted are relentlessly put under a separate scanner. Mr Rose feels he’s still 25, because he feels 25. While the rest of the world sees him as 50. There are similarities between him and you…

Watching you scamper around a cricket field, at 40, like a Shardashram schoolboy is a joy. You’re still enjoying the game, one can see that, but that’s not always enough.

You’ve played 23 years, served the country like a true soldier, okay you were never as selfless as Dravid, but hey, you gave us years of pleasure.

The point is, no one has the guts to ask you to leave. Even our senile corrupt politicians eventually get voted out. But in your case, even 100 years from now, long after you’ve stopped scoring runs, you’ll come out to bat wearing a wig, sporting a sparkling set of white teeth, you will still find endorsements, maybe hearing aids companies.

But nobody can bell the cat, except you. So what’s my point –there are two.
Point 1: You are holding up a crucial place in the batting order. There are young guns waiting in the wings, far hungrier than you waiting to represent India.
Point 2: Crucially, you don’t want people to start resenting you.Love turns to loathing very quickly in our country, Ponting went out in a blaze of glory. As did Lara and McGrath. Even Ganguly, kicked and screamed, but he left. SRT, you are a great man. So don’t degrade yourself. Do the right thing. Of course, if you get a century in Nagpur, well that’s another story.
Regards, An amateur selector

Rahul da Cunha is an adman, theatre director/playwright, photographer and traveller. Reach him at rahuldacunha62
The views expressed in this column are the individual’s and don’t represent those of the paper. 

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