The Fear Of 99

tendulkar-out.jpgThe name itself is enough to sketch a figure comparable to that of Colossus, both in terms of size and grandeur. The sweet fruit of fame and success of Sachin Tendulkar has come at the irreparable loss of youth and time. Recovering recently from a series of injuries, that has affected almost all the parts of his body, it’s been a tough road to tread upon, but he has done that gradually, and firmly. Lately he has been scoring thick of runs and doing that briskly, which reminds us of his extravagant youth with the noticeable supervision of the veteran.

Sadly, he has been getting out in the 90’s perpetually these days. He has now been dismissed on 99 thrice in 2007 alone & 6 times in the nervous 90’s. Assuming he got these centuries, he would have been cruising with an unassailable record of over 40 centuries in One-Day Internationals. Ironically, now he holds the record for maximum dismissals in 90’s in a year.

But you can’t indict this to carelessness. The reasons may be innumerous or may be inexplicably bizarre. A player of his caliber and experience has rarely shown any signs of frenzy in all these years, howsoever adverse the situation might have been. After all these years and so many players coming in and out of the Indian team, he still stands out as the trump card for India in its victories. His presence itself provides composure to the psychologies of the rest of the players, who can then perform with ease of mind. He has been endlessly staging A Great Indian Victory throughout his career and this year too, but failing miserably in attaining the personal feat he very well deserves.

His vulnerability at around the score of 99 can be credited to the fact that he has witnessed the careers of many stalwarts of the game shatter in a matter of few matches. The age-long earned fame reduced to ashes as a consequence of a finite number of mistakes that might have deserved pardon. So the need to perform better at the end of his career might be taking its toll on this great cricketer too.

It may be the fear of the doomed score, evident from history, which has been keeping him in awe of the 3 figure runs. To quote a few instances, Geoffrey Boycott had once remarked in public, that being dismissed on 99 is equivalent to a Duck. Though highly controversial and debatable, this might be one of the things at the back of his minds.

Looking at the way he gets dismissed in the 90’s, one can easily reckon the anxiety in his mind to get through these runs. Probably, the haste to set the records straight pushes him more into the misery. He has been spotted each time playing a rash and uncharacteristic shot that disengages all the efforts he had been putting in all through the innings. He too realizes the gravity of the issue now and must be preparing to combat this error that can easily blemish his well-crafted image of a gifted cricketer.

Whatever be the reason, we all must be praying desperately for him to pull himself out of this crisis and go on to hit a big century, preferably against Australia.

Arindam Chakraborty