He is the greatest batsman of this generation, He is my favourite cricketer of all-time. His fan following is unimaginable. His records and numerous. His career span is unmatched.
Yet sadly his autobiography is far from impressive.
SR Tendulkar c Fans b Critics 0 (2)
Autobiographies serve different purpose for different people, few reveal deep dark secrets in theirs, few just retell a known story from their perspective, few use it to criticise old foes or may be balm old wounds.
Tendulkar had an impeccable career, but the autobiography falls short in many areas.
He seem to have resorted to blowing his own trumpet, very little is revealed of his failures and of how he had lost. I believe readers will have lot more to learn from his failures rather than his victories. He gives various examples and instances of how he outsmart the bowlers, but he doesn’t give even one single instance of having outsmarted by a bowler.
He also goes on to give a long list of wrong umpiring decisions which went against his way and revealed the apologies of those umpires whenever he received one after that particular match.
Majority of the portion covers latter part of his career where the victories were more often. He is completely mute about the whole match fixing episode as already criticised by many columnists including Makarand Waingankar in The Hindu. He valiantly defends his friends in Harbhajan during the Monkeygate but is mute on Azharuddin and Ajay Jadeja. He went mute on the Ferrari import issue as well.
One of the major criticism he had faced during his career is that he plays for records. He has always maintained that he plays for country and since he repeatedly claims, it seems he himself doubts the claim. For example, during the Multan test where he was stranded at 194 by Dravid after he declared the innings finds a long mention where he fumes and vents his anger. It wasn’t a confession by a man playing for his country.
His criticism of Greg Chappel and Kapil Dev as coaches finds mention, but very little is told about the strategies of successful coaches such as Wright and Kirsten.
In the end, it seem like a long whiny song and excuses for events which weren’t asked and muteness as a reply for events which warrant an explanation.
From a standpoint of a fan, the beauty of straight drive or lofted six is not replicated by the writer even though he was aided by Boria Majumdar. Most often the writing seem childish. The superstitions find a lot of mention from a man who is called God of Cricket. The book most often seem like a thank you note to his wife.
There were points when I had wished I hadn’t read the book which I pre-ordered months before the launch. None of the victories mentioned including the world cup victory fails to incite any excitement as he repeatedly fails to even mention the heroics of others apart from as a passing remark.
I wish he had opted for a biography, we had always read what had been written about him. The media and the written word has helped him to create an aura and pale the blemishes if any of the little master. When he wrote it in first person, suddenly the humility through the written word seem somehow hollow. It would have been more truthful and unbiased if a talented biographer had written his life for him, something like what Walter Issacson had done for Steve Jobs. For an autobiography to succeed for a sportsperson, it need to have all the salt and pepper highlighting especially the failures something which Andre Agassi had done in his, not just the sugar-coated candy bar.
I am indeed aware that It is his prerogative to express himself in the manner he deems fit in his book but it is just that it falls short and is caught by the man standing in the slips.
A book would have succeeded when the it screams “Sachin.. Sachin” just like the thousands in those oval stadiums and millions of living rooms across the world.
This one sadly doesn’t have any volume, no colour and sadly only a bland scorecard.
-Santhosh, (Someone who can’t play a cover drive but is still Sachin’s ardent fan)