'This Chap Has Been A Colossus': Indian Cricket Star To Retire | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio
Filed Under:

'This Chap Has Been A Colossus': Indian Cricket Star To Retire

Play associated audio

Sachin Tendulkar is not only perhaps the best batsman to ever play cricket, he is considered an icon. Thursday, he announced his plan to retire.

It's almost impossible to find an American sports analogy for how huge Tendulkar is in India, where interest in cricket tends toward obsessive, says Indian Parliament member Shashi Tharoor.

"He is certainly the greatest Indian to ever wield a cricket bat, and possibly one of the greatest in the history of the entire sport worldwide," Tharoor explains to Weekend Edition host Scott Simon.

"He's also had the most unusually lengthy career of any major sportsman, having been such a gifted prodigy that he made his debut for India at the age of 16, and has continued playing till he turned 40 this year," Tharoor says. "He owns pretty much all the important records in the international sport, and what's more, he's done so while carrying the expectations of a billion people every time he strides out to bat."

Tendulkar's announcement dominated all the television channels for hours, Tharoor says.

"The passion for the sport is something that's got to be seen to be believed in India, so this chap has been a colossus," Tharoor says. Also, "he's somehow managed to be uncontaminated by scandal, by controversy, in a sport that's been laden with examples of both."


Interview Highlights

On how Tendulkar connected with the Indian identity

His rise in a sense became tied up with, or almost emblematic of India's own rise to assertion on the world stage. when Sachin Tendulkar made his debut for India in 1979 at the age of 16, India was still a developing country, a poor country, one with lots of problems, a semi-closed economy that stilled called itself socialist ... Then India liberalized in 1991 with the end of the Cold War and a major change in financial calculations and political philosophy in the country, and that coincided with Sachin's rise. India rose, and Sachin rose.

What happens to this kind of star in retirement

Amusingly enough, our government nominated him to our upper house [of Parliament] ... There are half a dozen nominated seats for very famous and distinguished figures in the field of culture or academia, even cinema or the arts. Sachin was given one of those seats, even before he retired ...

Given the hold he has on the admiration and the allegiance of the Indian people, he could speak on any public issue with a moral authority that very few could rival. So I think if he wanted to use that position as a member of the upper house, as an Indian equivalent of a senator ... he could have a significant impact on public life.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Ruth Rendell Dies, Pioneered The Psychological Thriller

The British mystery writer was known for her Inspector Wexford series and in her later years became active in Labour Party politics. NPR's Petra Mayer has this remembrance.
NPR

'Bourbon Empire' Reveals The Smoke And Mirrors Of American Whiskey

A new book suggests that tall tales on craft bourbon labels are the rule rather than the exception. They're just one example of a slew of "carefully cultivated myths" created by the bourbon industry.
NPR

Site Using Candidate Carly Fiorina's Name Attacks Her Record At HP

The site, carlyfiorina.org, says the Republican presidential candidate laid off 30,000 people while she ran Hewlett-Packard. Fiorina does not deny the figure but says, overall, the firm created jobs.
NPR

People's Republic Of Uber: Making Friends, Chauffeuring People In China

Uber is becoming more popular in China, but many drivers say they don't do it for the money. They say they like the human connection and the freedom.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.