The Sidhuism ‘statistics are like mini skirts, they reveal much more than they hide’ — holds perfectly true for the situation at the Wankhede here post-10:35am yesterday — moments after Sachin Tendulkar was dismissed in what probably was his final international innings in his 200th Test against the West Indies yesterday.
He scored 74 off 117 carefully-watched deliveries — he obviously didn’t see off the 118th ball or else he wouldn’t have given Darren Sammy a catch at slips off Narsingh Deonarine. The 12 boundaries though, and some rock solid defensive shots in between, perfectly brought down the curtains on a fabulous career.
But the disappointment of the fans at the Wankhede was reminiscent of days when Tendulkar failed to fire. Moments later, it did dawn upon everyone that it could be the last time they had seen Tendulkar walk away with his willow in international cricket and so they gave him a standing ovation.
But the disappointment of the impending century that everyone was expecting lingered as the crowd then took to their seats. Nevertheless, it was not long before many spectators began vacating their seats even though a crucial Test was underway.
Wonder why the obsession of a century is so high, that it overshadows the super-humanesque effort of a man who has served the sport not only in India but the world over unflinchingly for over two decades?
If 100 is fab, why is 74 drab? After all it’s just 26 runs short. How did the public so quickly forget that Sachin’s six boundaries adding to his overnight 38 not out were flawless? Add to this the fact that the batting great brought up his half century in super style — with a trademark straight drive off the best Windies pacer here, Tino Best — and even the most expensive ticket sold in black would have felt like a bargain.
Tendulkar himself will be more than satisfied with his match-winning contribution of 74 and that too in front of his doting mother for the first time ever. The legend’s longevity can be gauged from the fact that Windies skipper Darren Sammy was not even born when Tendulkar (10 years old then) visited the Wankhede for the first time, for the India vs West Indies Test in November 1983 — taken there by elder brother Ajit. Sammy was born a month later.
Even then, if statistics continue to dominate our number-infested brains, then Tendulkar still holds the Test records for most runs 15921, most centuries (51), most 50-plus knocks (119) and most fours 2058.
Let’s hope at least now the figure 26 is dwarfed and the giant is hailed forever!