An imaginary conversation between two imaginary people (let’s call them Rhea and Rahul) over beer. If you love cricket like we do, you’ll identify with one of these two!
Rhea: Are you watching the IPL?
Rahul: Naa, man. Sachin’s not playing for Mumbai Indians anymore. What’s the point?
Rhea: Oh God. You think Sachin is God.
Rahul: Doesn’t every Indian?
Rhea: Dude, the whole God angle is a bit much. He’s retired now – people need to chill.
Rahul: *Sputters and spits drink* You did not just say that! Sachin is the greatest cricketer, ever.
Rhea: Really? Ever hear of, I don’t know, Virat Kohli? Don Bradman?
Rahul: You Kohli-tards need to pipe down. Your boy may be really good but he’s not getting anywhere close to Sachin. Ever.
Rhea: Bro! Virat has more 100s and a better average. AND he’s gotten to 25 tons faster.
Rahul: But Sachin had more runs when he was Virat’s age.
Rhea: That’s because Sachin started out much younger!
Rahul: Nadal achieved more than Federer did at age 25. Who still has more Slams? And Sachin’s got 100 centuries, bro – Virat has a long way to go!
Rhea: You Sachin fanboys keep throwing that number around! How many of those came in winning causes? How many weren’t against the likes of Zimbabwe and Bangladesh? Like his 100th ton.
Rahul: 100 is still a staggering feat. And Sachin shouldered an entire team and the nation on his shoulders. Virat has so many match-winners to support him.
Rhea: And yet Virat single-handedly took India to the World T20 semis. Sachin failed in the 2003 and 2011 World Cup final.
Rahul: But remember Sharjah 1998? Or the 2008 VB series win over Australia? He delivered when it counts
Rhea: But never on the biggest of occasions. He should have learnt a thing or two from Rahul Dravid. *both take a minute of respectful silence, and a gulp of beer, to reminisce about Dravid*
Rahul: I love Dravid too.
Rhea: Yeah – because Dravid always put the team first. If he was needed to open or keep wickets or even change his batting style, he did. If he was needed to take on the captaincy, he did.
Rahul: Sachin captained India too, you know.
Rhea: And how well did that go? It was one of the worst periods for the Indian cricket team.
Rahul: It was just after the match-fixing scandal. It wasn’t easy.
Rhea: Fair enough, but his batting suffered horribly, too. Dravid took on all the added roles, but with no drop in efficiency. Sachin was all about overshadowing the rest. Did Sehwag get a special Test match against a struggling team just so he could go out in style?
Rahul: But he certainly deserved it.
Rhea: No doubt. I’m just saying, we should not forget those who supported him and the more important question: whether India won or lost, not the individual records.
Rahul: Oh just shut up.
On that note, happy birthday, Mr Tendulkar!
From HT Brunch, April 24, 2016
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