Text by Nittal Chandarana. Illustration by Kunal Kundu
Verve reads the autobiography of the one God this nation prays to unanimously; a man most at home in his zone of 22 yards
When Sachin Tendulkar writes his autobiography, it becomes the nation’s Bible. It has a pre-order rate that could put Rowling to shame and serves as a bridge between the man and his army of over a billion fans. Everyone wants a piece of this toast of the nation who has maintained a dignified and mostly private stance in an awe-inspiring career. You don’t look at how he attacks the text or how he tackles syntax and grammar. It is beyond that. The very fact that his autobiography is swathed in the patriotic saffron, white and green embodies the essence of a life devoted to helping the country reach greater highs. Just how much Tendulkar is ingrained in the hearts of his fans is overheard right from the conversation of the polished NCPA crowd, ‘Of course I support Sachin over Chappell. He’s my countryman’, to our domestic help seeing the book cover and exclaiming ‘Ye to Sachin ka book hai na! Padhna hai… uske liye English seekhna padega.’ Writing about Sachin Tendulkar: Playing It My Way is akin to penning down your thoughts about a Salman Khan movie. No matter what you say, fans shall always have the last word. Verve gives it a shot anyway.
The read Co-written with Boria Majumdar and published by Hachette India, this book is a straightforward account of Tendulkar’s cricketing career and life: his career was his life. It documents every important match in the Master’s career and his take on those games. It serves as a prayer to cricket rather than divulge too much about the person that is Tendulkar. He gives due importance to his wife, Anjali, who unfailingly stood by his side throughout his life but his family and children take a backseat when it comes to cricket. Yes, we do come to know of his highs, lows, obstacles and successes but are left craving a little more heart. The book is not a racy narrative of his idiosyncrasies or a poignant outpouring of thought. Legendary tennis star Agassi’s autobiography both informed and entertained whereas this one takes you from one match to the other. After all, an autobiography holds what you wish to reveal about yourself.
Bowled Over Here is a man who signed over his life to the sport; his dedication, resilience and tact shine through. He comes across as a very humble man who has achieved much more than most dream to. Little incidents like calling his most avid fan, Sudhir Chaudhary, to hold the winning World Cup trophy after the match, or leaving match tickets and a jersey signed by the whole team for a cabbie who refused to charge his idol anything for the ride show that he possessed exemplary character and spirit.
It Ain’t Cricket His comments about Greg Chappell’s term have stirred up quite a controversy. But we say, about time. It should have been said when it happened but at least it’s all out in the open now. Also, his dissonance with then-captain Rahul Dravid on not allowing him to reach a double-tonne but declaring the test match, was written about. It was shocking to know that such a step had been taken but at the same time, the players never permitted anyone outside of the team to sense any disparity. The media plays a huge part in making or breaking careers and is quick to shun a failure. When Sachin was going through a rough patch, the headlines in the morning dailies read ‘Endulkar’, a term that both angered and saddened the legend. So deep was the impression on him that he has a whole chapter named after this insult.
Lost Point What we found a little out of place, though, was minimal mention of Virendar Sehwag. A man who supported him from the other end through a considerable course of his career and with whom he is said to have enjoyed one of his best partnerships was a tad ignored.
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