Three occasions on which the great cricketer didn’t live up to his reputation.
Sachin Tendulkar’s legend is as much about statistics — 100 hundreds, 200 Tests, 30,000 odd runs — as it is about his squeaky-clean image. A middle-class Maharashtrian who, even as he achieved unimaginable cricketing heights, had his feet firmly on the ground. In attaining this equilibrium, Tendulkar set the template for the Indian sporting superhero. Thou shalt be supremely gifted and virtuous. A Maradona needs to be a mahatma too.
Heck, mahatmas court more controversies than Tendulkar did. He spent 24 years in international cricket exercising a monkish self-restraint when it came to making statements in public. ‘Let your bat (or ball) do the talking,’ is a common refrain in cricket. Yet few adhere to it. Tendulkar did so for almost two-and-a-half decades.
Well, mostly. Three incidents come to mind, when he was caught off-guard. In 2002, he was gifted a Ferrari by Fiat, a company that he endorsed. But instead of paying the duty that every Indian importing a car was liable to pay, Tendulkar reportedly asked the NDA government to waive it. Which they agreed to. But the super-rich Tendulkar, by seeking a Rs 1.13 crore exemption, found himself on the wrong side of public opinion for the first time. Perhaps, the only time.
At other times, he received overwhelming backing, no matter if he was right or not. In 2001, Tendulkar, I suspect, was wrong. It was the second Test against South Africa, being played in Port Elizabeth. As India looked to claw back into the game after conceding a big lead, captain Sourav Ganguly gave Tendulkar the ball to bowl seam-up. At one point during his four-over spell, as he got to the top of his mark, the camera zoomed in on to Tendulkar’s hands and found him scratching the seam of the ball. It was Tendulkar’s Hand-of-God moment.
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Article source: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/the-establishment-man/1195823/