‘Perfection’ is something which stares at you like a star from the zenith far above. You crave to reach out to it which would, undoubtedly, take you to the top of the heavens from where you can survey your earthly subjects looking up at you in awe. Sachin Tendulkar stands on that pantheon like a deity who evokes awe amongst all his worshippers. Even the ground on which he walks is considered sacred by millions of his devotees.
Despite standing on the top, he hasn’t yet reached out to that hallowed ‘perfection’. Currently, he is being haunted by the ghost of ’99 centuries’ which has burdened his mind and infected the sanctity of the pure soul. Looking for that elusive 100th ton, a feat never accomplished before by a man so far, every time he walks out to the pitch, his devotees gather all around him akin to a throng of hypnotized onlookers gazing at a magician who has promised them his most remarkable trick ever. They hold their breath waiting for that inevitable moment when the conjurer conjures that rabbit out of the thin air; something which will eventually happen no matter the amount of time it takes. The inevitability of Tendulkar’s 100th century is never questioned by his devoted admirers. It will definitely come, may be in a few weeks or months, or may be in years, but they are prepared to hold their breath till that time.
Tendulkar, himself, has been so accustomed to the center stage that attaching stage-fright with him seems tasteless. He has spent a greater part of his 38 years on the field than off it. The dust-brown batting pitch enveloped by the green grass is far more homely to him than his Mumbai’s mansion. Yet the God himself seems to be having the jitters every time he approaches that coveted milestone. That 100th century is like a seductive, enchanting maiden who battles her eyelashes inviting him to her warm embrace. Lured and tempted, he rushes forward to get forlorn amongst the fragrance of her radiant tresses but the moment he approaches her, she disappears leaving him unquenched in his state of confounded trance.
The fact, that he is in the need to exorcise the ghost of 99, robs from him the crown of perfection. Yes, he is not perfect! Yes, he is not error-free! It is his state of anxious desperation to reach to his quest that lends him the tag of imperfection. But it is this imperfection that makes his batting so intriguing, so charismatic and so unpredictable. You never know when his blade will caress the ball to the fences! You never know when his hand shall slice that perfect drive! And you never know when this magician will churn out that 100th ton, conjure that expectantly awaited rabbit that has paused our lives since the World Cup march!
The ‘God of cricket’ is flawed; he has his imperfections but it is his imperfections that make him so irresistible. He is imperfect but he is so in a very perfect manner. Of course, pretty soon, the wizard will definitely wield his wand again and produce that number 100. But it is the unpredictability of that epic moment where all the magic lies……….
(By Ritesh Agarwal, a tireless Tendulkar fan)