Liberalistion, Sachin Tendulkar & the elusive 100

Muttiah Muralitharan took 1,334 international wickets: 800 in Tests and 534 in one-dayers. Shane Warne had 1,001: 708 in Tests and 293 in one-dayers. Yet, no one remembers any of us losing sleep when they conquered the 1,000 mark.

Yet, why does Sachin Tendulkar‘s “100th international hundred” (he has 51 in Tests and 48 in one-dayers) send commentators, newspapers, TV channels, advertisers into a tizzy, when we should really be looking at the real number, which is 78?

Mukul Kesavan in The Telegraph, Calcutta:

“The real cricketing illiterates are the people who believe that adding ODI centuries to Test centuries and arriving at a hundred gives you a heroic landmark. It doesn’t. This isn’t just a meaningless statistic, it’s a pernicious one because it equalizes two different orders of achievement…

“It is to speak and think like a child with 99 coins in his piggy-bank, 51 made of silver and 48 of lead, who is dying to acquire one more coin of either kind because he will then have a hundred metal coins. The child can be indulged because he’s too young to know better but what of the grown men and women who follow cricket and report and comment on it, who carry on as if something monumental is about to happen each time Tendulkar crosses 50 and then mime tragedy when it doesn’t?

“Even children know that winning a game of checkers isn’t the same as winning a game of chess even though they’re played over the same 64 square….

“Tendulkar, whose 22-year career shadows India’s history since ‘liberalization’, has become, through no fault of his own, the totem of New India’s self-congratulatory middle class. He is at once their redeemer and their guarantee of self-worth. He must, therefore, be a singular genius: in the heaven of cricket, there must only be one god: Tendulkar. And so a copywriter’s meaningless catchphrase becomes a cricketing statistic: a hundred international hundreds.”

Read the full article: Trivial pursuit

Photograph: Coca-Cola commemoration can still waiting to be uncorked

Also read: Why some of us just love to hate Sunil Gavaskar