24 June, 2021

A Straight Bat Only Hedges

Deadening repetitions, oracular suggestions, recounting of records we all know by rote...just nothing beyond cricket. Sachin’s autobiography fails the genre.

A Straight Bat Only Hedges

Full disclosure: I wrote a book with Sachin Tendulkar on its cover. Published just weeks before Playing it My Way appeared, it’s called Final Test: Exit Sachin Tendulkar. That said.

By the end of this autobiography, I couldn’t help wondering: is it meant to paint for us a picture of Sachin Tendulkar as just another human being—faults, dre­ams, grudges and all—who happens to play fabulous cricket? If that was the point, maybe it succeeds, and maybe there’s no need to read further here.

But if not...parts of this book offer something I look for in any book about a famous figure: a taste of the pressures Sachin faced merely for being Sachin Tendulkar. Particularly, the chapter about that media- and fan-created ‘landmark’, his 100th ‘international hundred’. There is something unbearably sad about these dozen or so pages. Sachin tells us of the “unprecedented frenzy” that willed him to this meaningless, manufactured milestone, that people did not “appreciat[e] the impact it...

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