Tendulkar’s 100th Hundred’s a Sham and the Joke’s On Him
As you may have heard, India are touring Australia and it is their diminutive powerhouse, Sachin Tendulkar, who is stealing headlines like singles from sneaky nudges between cover and point.
One cannot read five lines regarding this much hyped series without some mention of the Little Master’s pending milestone – a century of centuries.
Okay, so it has a poetic ring to it, but really, how significant is this milestone? The chief reason I have a tendency to dismiss this achievement is because it is in reference to international centuries, a highly unusual mishmash of one day and test cricket statistics.
Since when did we start plonking tests and one dayers in the same fish kettle?
These two games are VERY different beasts, to the point where they are barely the same sport. The rules are different, the styles are a gulf apart and in the shorter form of the game you don’t even have to take you pyjamas off to take the field.
You could almost say they are like day and night, and in fact they are played accordingly.
You only have to speak to the likes of Nathan Bracken or Michael Bevan (and a host of player who aren’t Australian) to find out that even if you are highly successful at one that does not even necessarily mean you’ll even get to strap on the pads on in the other.
So why in this case are we so ready to combine statistics from the two? The same reason we are suckers for the right radio jingle – because it has a catchy ring to it.
We jumped up and down like we had all O-D’ed on Charlie Sheen when Warnie took his 700th Test wicket on Boxing Day back in 2006. The nation rejoiced as that venom-filled, fizzing leg break skittled the English captian Strauss.
But I remember no such celebrations when he passed 1000 ‘international’ wickets. Was Warnie robbed due to a lack of alliteration alone?
If we so willingly lump together Sachin’s test and one day centuries then where do we draw the crease?
Are we ready to credit Sonny Bill Williams with having 222 career points (132 from league/90 from rugby)? Maybe even throw on a couple more points for his boxing knockouts.
Can we add Karmichael Hunt’s AFL points to his league tally? Wait a second, adding a behind or two per season is barely worth the trouble.
Andrew Walker: 901 points?
Can Brock Lesnar pad his MMA record with ‘fights’ from the WWE?
While we’re at it, let’s add Ian Thorpe’s medal tally to his collection of snappy cardigans which one could only presume, would put him in the hundreds.
We haven’t even got to the American dual sportsmen yet and the combination of football and baseball statistics for the likes of Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders could really make for mind blowing, yet vastly irrelevant, reading.
Lucky for you that Michael Jordan only batted .202 for 88 hits in the minors, so it is barely worth adding it to his 14390 career field goals.
Okay, I feel I have probably made my point ad nauseam.
But as farcical as this statistical culmination of Tendulkar’s career is, the most amazing thing of it all is that it really seems to be affecting him. One could easily hypothesise that this media storm in his Chai teacup has put his mind, not on accumulating the next run, but on who to raise his bat to or how to react when he passes this myth of a milestone.
Tendulkar is a player in form. Stevie Wonder and Blind Freddy have discussed it at length, but the 99 monkeys on his back are clearly impeding his quest for big runs. This was never more evident than when, on a perfect SCG deck, he fell to the gentle left armers of a part timer after being well and truly set on 80.
It has been this way since March of last year when he made his last ton against South Africa. The weight of expectation of statistically deluded fans in India and indeed around the globe have backed the Little Master into a corner and with each passing match, it appears an even tougher ask for him to bat himself out of it.
I love great sporting statistics as much as the next cricket tragic, but those who consider Tendulkar’s achievement more than a trivial milestone when it finally arrives are part of the reason it has taken so long.
If it happens at the WACA, I will stand and applaud like all others. But rest assured, I will be applauding SRT’s 52nd test century. Nothing more. Nothing less.