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Wanted: Kindred spirit for the great Tendulkar

This was one of Sachin Tendulkar's best and, in many ways, the saddest innings, writes Ravi Shastri.

india Updated: Nov 07, 2009 02:04 IST

This was one of Sachin Tendulkar's best and, in many ways, the saddest innings. How could the Gods allow this; how could his mates not be inspired when thousands in stands and millions on telly were ready to step on the field and bat for him? This isn't time to coldly dissect the game. Instead, the story-writers must pick up their pens; the film-makers get behind their cameras; the playwrights roll out musicals in an ode to this heroism in an era when vested interests, thuggery and betrayals dominate our lives. It was as if Tendulkar wanted to cover up for all the mess of his mates: dropped catches, ordinary bowling and batting.

It's miraculous how his genius survived the mediocrity around him. Dare one club the timidity of some of his team mates, with the ingenuity of this champion. This stuff was beyond mortals; don't forget he is 36. After yesterday it was as if he is 16 going on 17.

Everyone else failed him. There is no point venting your ire on Jadeja or the tail. One is still finding his feet and the rest are bowlers. That they didn't do their known stuff either is a different matter. This column has lately been questioning the mental strength of this Indian team. It has now received a fresh coat of scepticism.

India failed to cross over the line in last overs of two games; in the third it messed up with a lowly target. The tail too can't hide behind the unfamiliarity with batting. They are not there just to make up the numbers. If not Tendulkar, then Australia ought to have inspired the rest.

The world champions are in an alien land. Midway through the series, injuries have completely forced them to field a new team. Yet they are the ones crossing the winning line. Just replay the catch of Dhoni and run-out of Praveen Kumar in your mind.

Or how a youngster in Clint McKay, making his debut within hours of flying in as replacement, chips in with the best figures, including Tendulkar's wicket. Or how a near-century alone isn't enough to satisfy Shane Watson. He must have a good clutch of wickets to round up his feast.

For Australia, everyone is standing up for the other. In India, even a Tendulkar can't find a kindred spirit.

A legislation is now due to put Tendulkar's critics-dare they raise their voice again-behind bars. This man is a timeless classic. He is an inspiration for millions of Indians. He will need another special effort if India were to stay alive in this series.

TCM