5 reasons why I will never read Tendulkar’s autobiography … ever…

I am from the Tendulkar generation, if you do not believe me then please read this.

Most of my young and adult life has been punctuated by Tendulkar memories, you can read  this master piece tribute by sidvee

If you want further proof of me being a Tendulkar fan, then I can tell you that I have even written a poem on Tendulkar.

Having said that, I for one am least interested to read Tendulkar’s autobiography

Playing it my way review

1 – I am a fan of Tendulkar as a cricketer, I was never and will never be interested in knowing Tendulkar off-field. I do not want to know that potentially he was as ordinary in personal life as I am 🙂

2 – I have always believed that Tendulkar was the best when it came to on-field behaviour. I do not want to know that he was not. I do not want to know that he should have spoken about few issues at the right time instead of saving those for his book

3 – The Tendulkar that I worshiped was a humble middle class boy who went on to create history. The Tendulkar I worshiped would never have released an autobiography or created a big media buzz for marketing it. God did not write his own stories, he left it to others to tell those stories.

4 – There are things you worth knowing and then there are things better left un-explained. I never wanted to know that Lance Armstrong cheated, similarly I do not want to know that Tendulkar like all of us had petty issues and problems.For the love of god, He is ‘God’

5 – Tendulkar is no Kardashian and I do not want to know the details of his life. I do not want to know if he likes duck or hates chicken. For the record I went to Tendulkar’s (the restaurant) and hated the menu which included things Tendulkar likes. Just did not make sense to me. I liked his straight drive, cover drive but not his meal choices.

It might come as a surprise to many of you who know me, but I hate the fact that Tendulkar has behaved like the highly paid footballers who release autobiographies at the age of 30 and the again at 40 and then again at 50. I have defended Tendulkar in various debates but I am not sure if I will be able to defend this.

To be frank, I am worried. Since retirement Tendulkar has been in politics, in publishing.. what next? In Bigg Boss? Who knows !!

One thing for sure – ‘that’ Tendulkar will not be the Tendulkar that I worshiped for years.

Whistling at Edgbaston…Napping at Wimbledon…Clapping at Lords

Three venues.. Three dreams…Three stories

Whistling at Edgbaston

Whistling at Edbaston1

‘Yes, I got it, I got it’ – I shouted at one of my Scottish colleagues … This was one of those days when I wished I was in India. Oh I would have been the envy of the entire office… I was the proud owner of 4 tickets to India Vs Pakistan ICC Champions trophy match at Edgbaston and my empathetic Scottish friend had no idea why I was over the moon..

This was ‘the dream’.. If there was one place to watch Ind Vs Pak match outside these 2 countries then it was Edgbaston !! Sold out crowd.. (partially) sunny day.. Great atmosphere .. Crowd from both sides trying to get better of each other ..

The day of that match is still fresh in my memory; not because I was living one of dreams but seeing my wife go practically nuts during the match !! She will be the first one to tell you that she hates cricket but that day she must be the one who has most fun in the entire stadium. I don’t know if it was the Edgbaston atmosphere or India playing well but she had the time of her life… I am not sure if I did …

May be I was trying to come to terms with a dream coming true or I was overwhelmed by the situation.. There are times when you just want to forget about your dream or how the occasion is special and just enjoy .. She was doing exactly that… Wish I could have done the same 🙂

Napping at Wimbledon

Center Court

Ok.. I confess.. I fell asleep during a Nadal match in center court at Wimbledon !! There .. I said it..

This was another dream of mine. Throughout my childhood I watched Graph, Seles, Agassi, Sampras grace those greens. I read about the strawberry and cream and the famous hill. I tried my luck 2 years in a row but the closest I got to center court was to see Andy Murray wave goodbye to the crowd at the end of the day. For the record, in my first try I waited in the famous queue for 9 hours and I had practically lost my mind when I finally entered the Wimbledon gates. My wife can testify to that !!

Call it third time lucky or benefit of having friends like Danielle Hrin Quek – my Glasgow BFF. I owe it to her for being finally able to spend a day at Wimbledon center court.. I actually took half a day off from work ( not for the first time to watch sports !!). The line up for the day was great – Nadal, Serena Williams .. I could not have asked for more – apart from staying awake!!..

The Nadal match was going great.. Nadal came back into the match after being a set down with a series of long rallies and I went out of the match exactly during one of those rallies!! I know I know .. How could I ??? but I did..

Watching tennis wasn’t anything that I thought it would be .. No shouting.. No real cheering.. No banter.. Pin drop silence during points … It was just too much for a cricket fan within me.. To add to that the Center Court crowd !!.. I practically had to open my pack of crisps with atmost care and I still got few looks… This was not the dream.. In a sense it was but not how I imagined it. I dare say that I had more fun watching the matches on the outside courts during my earlier visits to Wimbledon

At the end of the day, I reached a conclusion that I almost do not want to do this again except for if it is the semi’s or the finals. Ironic but true.. Afterall, who wants to nap when Nadal is in full flow !!

Clapping at Lords


Consider this – You are a life long cricket fan.. You have got 5th row Grand Stand tickets at Lords on day 4.. Lords is celebrating its 200 years… Indian team plays out of their skin .. A british fan sitting in the next row tells you before leaving – ‘You guys are going to win this one’

Can it get better? Nope.. Specially after the scars that you suffered watching India get hammered by England at Edgbaston 4 years ago and a drunk British fan hugged you saying – ‘Don’t worry, better luck next time’.. Hell the next time was here

Good things happen to you if you have good friends and this happened courtesy another close friend of Mine – Rahul Datar..

Lords was a strange place.. It was almost anti-Edgbaston.. Very few slogans.. Very few people shouting.. Hardly anyone getting drunk and shouting at opposition fans.. Even the Mexican Wave took a while to get going..  There were times when I wished this was Edgbaston and there was at least one guy completely drunk and contiuously shouting – ‘Jitaga Bhai Jitega, India Jitega’ ..

Not to say that there was complete lack of characters.. There were few ‘ Jimmy Jimmy Jimmy Jimmy , aaja aaja aaja aaja !!’ chants which were really funny but that was about it.. Cricket wise the day was great with Jadeja literally wielding his bat and then Inshat Sharma running through the english batting lineup ( Yes .. I said Ishant Sharma .. Miracles do happen)

Another dream which was little bit underwhelming .. It you give me a choice between Edgbaston and Lords , I might choose Edgbaston next time!! Lords might be the home of cricket but by the spirit sure lives in Edgbaston (specially if India is playing pakistan)



Few tips for the Brazilian football fans ( from an Indian cricket fan)

I feel your pain .. I do.. I know how it feels to be humiliated ( in my case over and over again) .. I have seen more humiliating defeats than you..

Brazil fans

photo courtesy – Agencia Brasil – Wikimedia commons


I can’t tell you anything about how to play football (Germans might), I can’t even tell you how to support your team, you Brazilians have been phenomenal over past few days. There is one thing I can tell you for sure –

‘How to continue supporting a mediocre team over a long period of time without feeling humiliated’  

So here are some tips from my end to ease some of your pain

1 Choose a God – Forget ( F**K) the team, tell yourself that the team is irrelevant. Just choose a player to worship (Neymar?) and just worry about his performance. Be happy if he scores 2 goals in a match (even if your country loses ). Worry more about his personal records..Take his adulation to such a level that the world will only know your country for that one player. Makes life much easy.  If you still have doubt then just ask Maria Sharapova – ‘ Who is Tendulkar’, by now even she must know !!

2 Make it about Money – Pay lot of money to best players in the world and bring them to Brazil.. Don’t worry if it impacts the local talent negatively. Money makes people happy. Like the Roman kings, create a spectacle in the Colosseum.. People will stop thinking about the national team and their performances.. Money talks .. If you are not convinced then give a call to Lalit Modi.. He might be able to do something for you

3 Choose a different sport/ team – I am not sure if you have noticed but whole of India watches the football world cup and cheers for some or other team. Learn something from us. We never worry about our national team , we are bigger than that. We generally support anyone who will entertain( and win)..This time it is the Germans, next time some other team. We don’t bother ourselves with the pain of possibly never seeing India play in a world cup.. Have you guys tried watching cricket? Do that and try supporting Australia ( for now). That might help take your mind off the stupidity that football is (I bet you think the same way about cricket)

4 Develop selective retention – Do you see me talking about the painful defeats in Sharja? Or the time when a British cricket fan hugged me outside Edgbaston after a humiliating defeat in 3 days? Nope.. I just talk about all the glorious time and just conveniently forget the bad memories. Do that.. It helps.. And in all fairness , you hardly have lot to forget .. Just get on with it

5 Blame it on the conditions – I am not sure if that will work in football but try.. Start slowly blaming it on conditions and you will start believing it eventually. Ask any cricket fan and they will tell you that Indian teams are not expected to play well in England, Australia. SA and so on.. Our teams try to change our opinion once in a while but we stay firm .. Learn from us.. Start believing that south american do not play well against Europeans .. I am sure there is statistical evidence.. Create some if there aren’t…

I can offer much more to you but I think these 5 tips should serve you well for now.. You team has lost badly just once.. You felt the pain cause this is a new experience for you..

It is like love, it hurts when your heart gets broken for the first time.. Trust me it gets easier with every passing heartbreak.. and who knows, this might be your first and last heartbreak ..

Yours truly

A seasoned Indian cricket fan


Tendulkar, Modi and ‘weight of a nation’

‘He has been carrying the weight of the nation for so long, now it’s our turn to carry him on our shoulders’ – said Yuvraj singh after that wonderful evening at Wankhede in 2011. I totally agreed then and I still agree now. Till around 10 days back, Tendulkar was the only man to ever carry the weight of the nation on his shoulders but then happened Modi and now it seems that he is the next one to carry the weight (and may be the last one) I was a Tendulkar fan for most of my life and all of Tendulkar’s cricketing life. I am however not necessarily a Modi fan… atleast for now. That said I do not have any issue with Modi. Having been a lifetime Tendulkar’s fan, It is little scary to be a Modi fan!!

Image courtesy - sandhira.com

Image courtesy – sandhira.com

Here is why – People like me set Tendulkar up for Failure right from the day we started cheering him. I am sure that Tendulkar never told me that he is going to score 100 100s. He never claimed that he was the best batsman in the wold. He hardly every said or claimed anything. I bet Tendulkar was not even as talented as some of his contemporaries. I am ready to go on record and say that a certain Vinod Kambli was more talented than Tendulkar. I would dare say that VVS was more natural than Tendulkar.. Heck I would say that Dravid has more mental strength than Tendulkar. Tendulkar just had it in him to work harder than any other kid around him to make most of what God gifted him. The whole thing about expectations was created by people like me. Fans like me.. We placed our expectations on his (literally) young shoulders. We wanted him to win for us. We wanted him to achieve what we could not. We wanted him to be superhuman. Thank God that Tendulkar was able to carry weight of those expectations, very few could. Tendulkar did not just carry the weight but excelled while doing so. I am sure it was a big burden and I am sure he felt it every day for past 22 years. If you need a proof then take a look at Tendulkar post his retirement, you can see the relief on his face..

Modi’s story might play out in a similar way. Now I may not have followed Modi’s career but I am sure there are more charismatic leaders around him. I am sure that Advani, Swaraj and others have a bigger stature … I am sure there are others in BJP with more and diverse experience.  While that might be true, I am also sure that Modi worked his socks off to reach where he has.. The problem starts now.. If social media is to be believed, the whole nation thinks that there are going to be miracles. Modi is going to win them every match as Tendulkar did ( or didn’t). Modi is going to be the solution to every problem. Just as there was a whole generation made up of Tendulkar fans, we now have a generation of Modi fans.

As a neutral observer and a Tendulkar Fan, the Modi fan following worries me. Tendulkar’s whole career was a fight against those expectations and for the record a lot of neutrals still view his career as a failure. His only fault was to raise the expectation. He in no ways knowingly contributed to the rise in expectations but it just happened.The ironic thing about Modi is that he has actively raised the expectation and now it is a genie out of the bottle. Neither Modi nor anyone else can put that genie back in.

Just like Tendulkar, Modi will have to carry the weight of a nation on his shoulders.. I am sure all the Modi fans will be more than happy if Modi retires after 22 years with similar successes / failures as Tendulkar…

Dhoni, Modi and ‘Sense of Occasion’

Sense of occasion – I for one definitely don’t have it, if it helps (me) even the great Sachin Tendulkar never had it.. In recent history, there are only 2 people who have really stood out when it comes to having sense of occasion – MS Dhoni and Narendra Modi

It is one thing to promote yourself in the batting order in a world cup final, it is another thing to have the audacity to clinch the win with a six, but it take someone with a great sense of occasion to hold that pose long enough for the cameras to capture the moment in all it’s glory.

The world might forget so many things about that world cup final but the one thing they will never forget is – Dhoni holding his pose after the winning shot. That was drama and triumph at it’s best. He had written his own fairy-tale.

Tendulkar never had that.. He was never one for having a great sense of occasion. His timing was limited to the cricketing sense of the word. Very rarely has Tendulkar been fortunate to do great things on great occasions. In fact some of his key milestones have been cursed by irrelevant matches or inferior opponents. A case in point is his retirement .. I bet Dhoni will retire at the most opportune moment and will do it in the same style as he won the world cup.

Fair enough …  Tendulkar had the talent and a place near to God, Dhoni has sense of occasion ..

That brings me to Mr. Modi. Mr. Modi reminds me a lot of Dhoni.. Beyond all the other similarities, both of them have a great sense of occasion..

Just like Dhoni, Modi has a knack of doing and saying the right things at the right time(at least till now). Case in point is his inaugural address in the Parliament. He has said great things throughout his campaign but today was his ultimate test. Lot of eyes were on him and many were betting on him to slip. He didn’t. He even managed to get emotional at the right time and even shed few tears. Just like Dhoni, he nailed the moment (atleast for now)..

There is however a slight difference between Dhoni’s world cup moment and Modi’s speech today. Dhoni had reached his Mount Everest and Modi is just starting his trek !! I just hope that Modi still has the sense of occasion when and if he reaches his pinnacle



To Yuvi, with love….

Dear Yuvi,

This is a confession, rather a series of confessions. I am not sure if this will make you feel better but I hope that this does not make you feel worse

To Yuvi - with love

image courtesy – Wikipedia

I am one of those who cursed you from the bottom of my heart when you were at crease struggling to get bat to ball

I am one of those who have hardly won a match in gully cricket but feels entitled to have opinion about all cricketing matters

I am also one of those who were sad to witness your legacy being spoiled by a single innings

I am also one of those who do realise that even the best finisher in the game was not able to hit the ball in the last over

I am also one of those who laughed at all the FB statuses mocking you

I am also one of those who gave my support to you on public forums

I am also one of those who concluded that your career is now done and you should never be included in the Indian team

It is the same me who relived all your glorious innings while others were questioning your efforts on the pitch

It is the same me who tried to convince your supporters that your best days are behind you

It is the same me who missed a nights sleep because India lost the match

It is the same me who by now has forgiven you

I am a fan of your talent but unfortunately for you I am also a fan of Indian cricket.

I have a very short memory and a shorter temper. In past I have not spared Sachin Tendulkar so I doubt you stand a chance.

But don’t take me seriously, cause I hardly give myself that luxury.

I am a nobody.

I am just a face in the crowd who will cheer anyone who can win India a match and crucify anyone who  can’t.

It’s nothing personal !!

Your’s truly

India cricket fan

Tale of 2 mavericks – Pietersen and Sehwag

Wikipedia defines the word as – ‘an unorthodox or independent-minded person’. Assuming that this is correct, I am sure these two characters are the very definition of the word ‘maverick’.

I am sure there is enough written about Pietersen in past few days but if you need any proof that Sehwag is in the same category then just read this gem of a post by sidvee

Tale of 2 mavericks – Pietersen and Sehwag

Image courtesy – Hindustan Times


Here are few other things which are common about these 2 individuals

  • Both have given cricket fans memories which sometimes defy logic
  • Fans will always pay to watch these 2 gentlemen play
  • Both are match winners on their day
  • Both are capable of the audacious
  • Both ironically would be retired from the game they love prematurely

For all that is similar between these 2, there is 1 big difference that will dictate how history will remember them and the difference is ironically that they are both mavericks..

Let me explain. I believe that each one of us is a maverick in their own way. Some of us eat crazy, some work out crazy , some read crazy and I have seen enough drive crazy.. So being maverick is nothing special or even unique. It’s how and where of it that makes it special. This is exactly where our two leading characters of this post differ..

The funny thing about Sehwag is that he is maverick only on cricket field. As an Indian cricket fan, Sehwag has not caused me any heartache with his off field antiques. He has not texted anything to the opposing team. Has never given any statements against any of his team mates. Has never walked out on his team. Now remove the ‘never’ part and you get Pietersen !!The problem with Pietersen is that he is compulsive about being maverick !! In personal life or professional , he just cannot help it and thank god for Indian cricket team that Sehwag can..

Pietersen’s retirement might be one of the greatest tragedies of modern sport but the real tragedy is that no one is crying !! The real tragedy is that history will remember Pietersen with too many buts and ifs . His genius will always be cursed and his performances will always be scarred. Worse is that history will read as  – ‘English cricket is better without Pietersen’. Whatever your views about Pietersen are, that is just not true !!

It isn’t that Sehwag is the player that he once was or he is not on the brink of retirement; but as and when he retires, it will be for cricketing reasons and not because he cannot be integrated in the team or any other stupidity like that. For the sake of all Indian cricket fans, Sehwag will be remembered without all the ifs/ buts or regrets !!

To think of it, that is the problem with a lot of us … We are compulsive and most of the times we just cannot help it !! Those unlucky among us end up being  Pietersen and for the rest , we can hope of being the maverick that Sehwag was !!

Paintball, जलियावाला बाग़ and me !!

Warrior Adventure Quest

There was a blast and I am sure there was tear gas. There was crossfire and we were trapped inside a single structure on the field. We tried to surrender but they just kept shooting at us. They just did not stop. It seemed as if they were intent on finishing us at that very moment. Many loved ones were hurt. My wife was shot and so were my friends. I was shot too. Looked like this all will only end with our lives but then came a voice – ‘Game Over’ and it all stopped but my mind didn’t. There are times when history, present and future dawns upon us at the same time. That time for me came last Sunday during a paintball outing.

‘Now I know what people in जलियावाला बाग़ must have felt’ – said my wife. For those who are not familiar with the Indian freedom struggle, this was an incident where 100s of innocent people were trapped and shot mercilessly by Brigadier-General Reginald E.H. Dyer in Amritsar, Punjab on 13th April 1919. The funny thing about history is that we need the present to learn from it . Guess this was our present. We needed to feel helpless, trapped and almost dead to appreciate plight of people who went through hell to get us the freedom that we value little.

‘This was traumatic. I am never doing this again’ – said another friend. I agreed but at the same time my thoughts went to all the soldiers who must be going through the same experience to preserve the freedom that we value little. I was not keen on doing this again but I had to spare a thought for the armed forces who willingly walk into these scenarios everyday for people like me.

‘Hey you are not supposed to shoot from close range’ – said a friend whom I shot. She was right, I was not supposed to. It was the war that made me. I lost of bit of me in that battlefield and was ready to break the rules to win. I lost my conscience and was reacting with my animal instincts. The only thing that mattered was winning and survival. This was the point when future dawned upon me. We cannot have a future that is only about winning and survival. We will not have a future if it’s based on just these 2 things !!


Why you should not have confessed Lance !!

Why you should not have confessed Lance !!

Lance Armstrong

They say that Life in itself is a spectator sport. Sports are in essence all about spectators and their belief. We cheer losing causes and we celebrate miracles. When nothing is going right in our lives we look to our teams, our stars and our idols. We win when they win! We cry when they lose and most importantly we believe in them. We believe that they are playing for us and fighting for us. You are threatening to take away that belief from us.

belief is the only thing that makes us get up at midnight and switch on TV. belief is the only thing that makes us angry when something is said about our idols and belief is the only thing that makes an otherwise boring life bearable. Trust us, it hurts to know that our idols lied, cheated. It hurts much more than loosing a close match or a disastrous performance.

As a cricket fan, I can tell you that I was deeply hurt and almost gave up on cricket when Cronje confessed and Azar was implicated. I still get worried when I hear rumors about matches being fixed. I feel cheated. You might think that I represent sports fans who are unforgiving, trust me I am not. I can safely say that majority of sports fans are forgiving. We are ok in our idols getting arrested, being politically incorrect, cheating on their wives, showing signs of cannibalism, going bankrupt, changing loyalties for money among many other things. There is one thing we as sports fans cannot tolerate is you as our idol cheating while representing us. You went one step ahead. You cheated and made us believe that you did not. You achieved greatness and became a role model for so many with your inspirational story. You let all that happen while you knew you were cheating.

You should at least have had the decency not to go on world television and confess. I would have been better off not knowing the fact that you were doping. At least I had a reason to believe in something that seemed too good to be true for a long long time and believe me I want to believe in miracles. I want to believe that Bolt, Woods, Thorpe, Phelps, Tendulkar are results of dedication, application and talent. You were one of them and now you just told me that it was not the case. You told me that you could not have done without doping. You are taking my heroes away from me.

If ‘Sachin Tendulkar’ was to come on the Opera show after retiring from ODI cricket and announce that his bat had a gadget fitted that always attracted the ball to the middle of the bat, I would almost consider committing suicide.You are making me replace my belief with doubt. You are taking a part of me away from me and that is just not acceptable. That is the betrayal of the highest order. You cheated is one thing but you had the audacity to keep doing it and then admitting it. For everyone’s sake you could have at least not confessed !!

Surendra Phatak
A stupid sports fan

There is something about Sachin… that only my generation will understand !!

Sachin Tendulkar

Sachin Tendulkar (Photo credit: R@VITH)

May be this generation would not understand the Importance of Tendulkar to our generation – those who started following Indian cricket before the Ganguly era.

There was an era before Ganguly started swinging his shirt from the Lords balcony .. An era before Indian won a test match after conceding a follow-on … An era before the advent of Ganguly, Dravid and VVS

Today even I do not switch off TV after Sachin gets out cause I know there is Kohli, Raina, Dhoni, Yuvraj … But there was a time when I used to. This was the time when we thought Manoj Prabhakar or Nayan Mongia was good enough to open batting for India…

I understand the relief that this generation feels after Sachin’s retirement from ODIs… There is logic to that.. There is a lot of young talent waiting in the wings. That was not the case when Azar was captain of the Indian Team.. This was the pre-96 era when Dravids of the world were still making their debut.. That was the reason why Tendulkar had to wait for so many years to win a world cup cause we never had a good enough team to play around him..

Tendulkar gave me and every Indian cricket fan hope and pride in a time when there was none… He was the only good thing about an Indian cricket team with an aging Kapil and a pedestrian bowling attack.. And that is where the term of ‘carrying the weight of an entire nation’ started .. He literally was the Indian Cricket team and he did make us proud numerous times be it the desert storm or the 117 against Pakistan..

He was the one who always stood between India and Defeat .. He was also the one who stood between embarrassment and Indian Team…. There were others who showed talent but never had Sachin’s discipline ; a case in point is Vinod Kambli … So that is why my generation just had Sachin… We did warm upto Ganguly, Dravid , VVS and now Yuvi, Kohli, Pujara but for my generation Sachin was always the First Love and I am sorry but you can never forget your first love

Thank you for all the Memories Sachin

Just a cricket fan
Surendra Phatak