A little less shine on the golden boy?
Before the India-England series there was unprecedented interest in the outcome of the contest. Sadly, the series has been totally one-sided and England’s dominance over a shoddy India sadly meant the much-anticipated closely contested spectacle never evolved.
The other event that also grabbed the imagination of the cricketing public and pundits alike was the possibility of a Sachin Tendulkar century of centuries in international cricket. So far that hasn’t happened and Tendulkar has one innings left in which to complete this amazing feat on this tour.
The truth is the mighty Sachin struggled like all his counterparts, with the exception of Rahul Dravid, against an inspired England attack. Conditions were seamer friendly and Tendulkar failed to maintain his high standards. Inevitably, the question comes up whether he really is great under all conditions or has his record been flattered by the fact that he played so much cricket under batsman-friendly conditions on the sub-continent.
This does beg the question whether Tendulkar in fact is better than a Kallis, Ponting or Lara. Would the above three not have achieved much the same results as Tendulkar had they played on the sub-continent as much as he has?
Put a different way: would Tendulkar have done as well as Kallis or Ponting for instance had he played at the same venues as they did during their careers. The truth is Tendulkar would have remained marginally in front.
He hasn’t done well in this series but the truth is his record under all conditions is excellent. He has averaged very well everywhere he has played. He averages over 40 in every country he has played and over 50 in most countries outside of India.
The reality is that Tendulkar, Ponting and Kallis are all great players. There is not a lot to choose between them. It doesn’t make much sense to compare them. They are all very different but contributed greatly to their respective countries. They also provided terrific entertainment over a long period.
In my view it is never a good idea to compare players of different eras either. Every era offers a different challenge and a player who was good enough to overcome the challenges of his particular era would have been good enough to do so in any era.
It doesn't matter whether Tendulkar gets his century of centuries over the next two days or not. He will continue to be the modern prince of batting. If he doesn’t get that anticipated century in England he will most certainly do so in time. It is probably more appropriate if he reaches that milestone at home anyway.