Anjali Doshi on Tendulkar In Wisden
Co-editor at The Nightwatchman, and formerly with The Indian Quarterly and NDTV, Anjali Doshi curates a work that gives a sense of the ‘god of Indian cricket’ on and off the field.
Give us your view on Sachin Tendulkar, the man….
“Tendulkar pursued cricket with single-minded, obsessive dedication for nearly 25 years. I’ve never seen anyone who worked harder and was able to maintain his level of commitment and hunger. Above all, few others could keep up the pursuit of perfection and excellence – at the highest level – for as long as he did. What strikes me most of all is that he achieved all he did without losing his sense of self, without ever letting the trappings of fame, success and wealth get to him. The picture on the cover of Tendulkar in Wisden – from the 2008 Test against England in Chennai – is one of my favourite Tendulkar photos. It captures the essence of who he was on the cricket field – intense, passionate, committed and incredibly hard-working.”
How would this anthology give a further insight into Sachin Tendulkar the cricketer?
“Tendulkar in Wisden puts Sachin Tendulkar’s entire career into perspective, from the time he played school cricket – and his feats made an appearance in cricket’s oldest book of record – until his retirement. Wisden, regarded by followers of the game as cricket’s bible, for over 150 years has chosen to celebrate the modern era’s greatest batsman.”
How did you curate the articles from the many written over the years?
“I looked at articles over 25 years across all Wisden publications. It was necessary to strike a balance between the annual editions of Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack and magazine features that offer a more immediate sense of the man and events on the field. The writing in Wisden is of a high literary quality and the aim was to select pieces that stand out for their prose and insight.”
In your opinion, how has he grown over the years?
“Among the micro-narratives in the anthology that I find most engaging is the focus on Tendulkar’s evolution from a destructive batsman to a run machine. While the general view of this gradual transformation has been quite critical – and several writers have been quite open in expressing nostalgia for the Tendulkar of old – I actually hesitate to place a greater value on one or the other. To me, he embodied excellence and ruthlessness (on the cricket field) regardless of his approach.”
What would you say has been his greatest achievement as a cricketer?
“Tendulkar’s greatest achievement as a cricketer is the self-belief he inspired in the generations after him. Whether it was Virender Sehwag or Virat Kohli, Tendulkar has served as inspiration to most current Indian cricketers. The fact that they aspire to break his records is perhaps his greatest legacy of all.”
Your take on Sachin being called the god of Indian cricket?
“I know from interviewing Sachin on several occasions that he finds any comparisons with God deeply uncomfortable. Perhaps, as a person, that’s his greatest quality, the fact that he sees fan worship – and this mass hysteria that’s followed him around for the better part of 30 years – for what it is: an illusion.”