Why the media will miss Tendulkar much

12 Nov,2013


By Ranjona Banerji


Is the media going needlessly gaga over Sachin Tendulkar’s impeding retirement? Or is this in the natural course of events, given the great cricketer’s tremendous influence on Indian life?


In fact, it is hard to imagine how the media will survive once Tendulkar has retired. At least one week will be very difficult, given the range of our collective memory.


1. The most upset will be those writers and journalists who have made a career out of slamming Sachin Tendulkar. Some have had the good sense to quickly bring out books on the subject before his retirement so they can make a little money from sales for at least three days. Although they had been calling for Tendulkar’s retirement for at least 10 years, it would actually have served their cause if Tendulkar had kept playing till he was about 53 or indeed, never retired at all.


2. The secondmost upset will be those who have made a career out of Tendulkar memories. I saw him first, I recognised him first – well, those one can understand. And then there are spin-offs like I saw him last but I still knew he was great and so on. However, it is likely that these writers will manage to get leverage a little longer than the anti-Tendulkar brigade. Because nostalgia gives everything a nice rosy colour: many more books will be written about My Times with Tendulkar than How I Wish Tendulkar Had Retired At 53 So I Could Keep Bitching For Another Thirteen Years.


3. Cricket statisticians will find themselves temporarily jobless as many records will remain unbroken or unchallenged for a while. There are only so many times you can mention “This is XX’s first Test match”. Actually, you can say that only once. Unless of course some other player decides to keep playing till they’re 53 or at least 40. Then the Anti-Tendulkar brigade can also jump on to that bandwagon and get some reflected glory. This ploy works best if the next player you target will be the one you had supported against Tendulkar. Like life coming full circle or a helicopter shot.


4. Advertisers and sponsors will now have to find some other sure-shot selling smile, squeaky to non-squeaky voice, curly hair to non-curly and back. I would suggest that tennis sports goods, fast cars and rock bands can continue to use Tendulkar as a celebrity endorser. His large fan base (larger than the anti-Tendulkar base, much to their own disgust) will keep the cash registers clinking and chi-chinking away. Sports channels though can keep making programmes on Tendulkar. Retired sports greats make excellent fillers in between cars going round and round or people pretending to bash each other up.


5. The band of Bengali sports writers who feel that Sourav Ganguly was done badly by Tendulkar in the Greg Chappell as coach days will now largely be out of sorts. They have to find someone else to feed their persecution mania. Since Ganguly has established himself as a very good commentator in English and Hindi, their best bet to feed their rage is in case Tendulkar becomes a commentator too.


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