22 January, 2021

The Marathoner's Wall

Why, despite the superlatives, does Sachin have only one first-class double century?

The Marathoner's Wall

Even as India is in the midst of another Test series, there remains a haunting, taunting mystery: why, despite all the crores of superlatives and rupees showered on him, Sachin Tendulkar has till now only one solitary first-class double century—the one he made for the Mumbai team against Taylor’s Australians earlier this year. A treble century by Tendulkar transgresses even the realm of mystery.

The subject wears a tinge of irony and pathos considering that the apparently ‘yuppyish’ Vinod Kambli, 15 months older than the sober Tendulkar, got two double Test hundreds in the space of a month or so in 1993, at the age of 21 years, but now struggles for a place in the Indian team.

Talking to some cricket savants in Mumbai was one way of clearing the air on Tendulkar’s elusive two-ton treasure.

First was the possibility of pre-mature fatigue of the right arm and shoulder, leading to a fatal falsely-timed stroke caused by Tendulkar’s unusually heavy bat. Sudhir Vaidya, the eminent cricket statistician, has, in a note to me,...



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