A great advertisement for the sport

Sachin Tendulkar… the most popular of the players of his generation.-K.R. DEEPAK

Sachin Tendulkar’s fervour remained undiminished to the end. He respected his opponents as much as his own team-mates, writes Vijay Lokapally.

Integrity is a virtue built over time; it is not a commodity that can be bought. Sachin Tendulkar learnt this early in his career when his father, Ramesh, inculcated in him the quality of staying grounded and being honest in every aspect of life, including cricket.

In today’s world, when almost everything is available for money, some people choose to uphold their moral integrity, learn the lessons of life the hard way and remain wary of the ‘other’ ways. In a world where everyone is struggling to race ahead and earn great honour, it is no simple task to remain isolated from the duplicity all around.

Sachin’s career, documented in golden terms, is a lesson for all. He was instrumental in many taking to cricket. His presence was a crucial factor during the days when the match-fixing scandal rocked the sport. Fans returned to the arena because Sachin was playing. He was perhaps the finest ambassador for the sport.

Today, budding cricketers see the sport as a lucrative option. With money flowing copiously from all directions, they are easily enchanted by the glamour of cricket. No doubt, money is a motivator, but easy money should not be so. Money was involved in the sport earlier too, but the values, largely, remained intact. However, now, cricket is seen as a gimmick played out for large sums of money.

Given the scenario, Sachin, whose passion for the sport is always spoken of, still remains an idol for many up and coming cricketers. His respect for the sport was seen through his consistency and remarkable character on and off the field. Sachin’s fervour remained undiminished to the end. He respected his opponents as much as his own team-mates.

Sachin started playing when cricket was still insulated from commercial influences. His success in the early stages as well as in the later years of his career was unaffected by monetary inclinations. However, after cricket came to be dominated by advertisements and the glamour associated with them, there was a gradual decline in the integrity of the players. Money became the dominant factor. Soon incidents involving the bookies and the players led to some prominent names being banned from the sport.

Advertisements never weakened Sachin’s foundation given his unswerving mental disposition. His body remained sturdy even after long hours of toil. He never played for money; money was only a by-product. He created a figure in the minds of the people that was honest to the game of cricket.

There are many other players who have displayed similar levels of integrity, but Sachin has been the most popular of them all.

To be on the pitch for so long and to perform with undiminished enthusiasm all these years definitely speaks for Sachin’s true love of the game. He must have faced periods of lows because of unsatisfactory performances, but his perseverance and discipline are virtues that will be appreciated for a long time to come.

Sachin has been an inspiration to the cricketing fraternity in times of crisis. And whenever players’ judgements were clouded, his commitment to the game helped them in recalling their own passion for the game, which was why they started playing in the first place. And their own stories have sounded like fables.