The Importance of SRT

The year is 1989. A curly haired, pint-sized teenager steps out on the field for his Test Match debut in front of a sparse Brisbane crowd. There is an air of expectation as all eyes are on the 'Boy Wonder', as he's been called by the press, ever since his selection into the Australian National team at the tender age of 16, as a replacement for the injured Dean Jones. With centuries on debut in both the Sheffield Shield and the FAI cup, all and sundry are predicting him to be the next Big Thing in international cricket. As he marks his guard and goes through a series of ungainly crotch adjustments that will become famous in the years to come, he feels confident enough. Allan Border and Tom Moody have done well enough to take his team from 27/2 to 185/3 and surely, facing Graeme Labrooy couldn't be worse than taking a few hard knocks from Merv Hughes in the nets. He still can't quite get his nerves to settle down though, and as he is knocked over for a paltry 15, he thinks he will never play Test Cricket again. It is in his second international match, when the same bowler gets one to rear up and break his nose, that he decides enough is enough. He refuses treatment and flicks the next ball off his pads, in a manner reminiscent of subcontinental players, to the boundary for four. Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar, son of two Indian immigrants in Australia, has announced his arrival, and he will rule the world for the next 20 years and counting.

Under Border, the Great Australian Revival is underway, and the boy will remain an integral part of the team under some of the greatest captains of his time.

He will spend the greater part of his career in a team which has one of the best opening combinations of all time, Langer and Hayden.

He will have Ponting at Number 3.

He will have Gilchrist at Number 6.

When he becomes captain, he will find bowlers answering to the names of McGrath, Warne, Fleming, Gillespie and Lee, not Prasad, Srinath, Kuruvilla and Mohanty.

He will win Three World Cups. In all three, he will be the highest run scorer.

He will be able to take his children to the fair, and watch a movie with them.

Don Bradman will be content to invite two Australians to his house.

He will be, for all intents and purposes, the Next Bradman.






A world away, an Indian team, chronic poor travellers, have been spun around in Abdul Qadir's web in an exhibition match. Only Salil Ankola has made his debut on that Pakistan tour.

No one is around in the Indian team to save the 1990 Test match against England, with a hundred in the last innings.

An Indian team touring Australia is beaten 2-0. The Indians are haplessly gunned down at Perth, ' The Fastest Pitch in The World'. No one makes a brilliant counter-attacking century.

When Navjot Singh Sidhu has a neck strain at Auckland, no one volunteers to open the innings.

No one is around to tackle the menace of Shane Warne, as he arrives on Indian shores.

No one makes a double-century for Mumbai against the Australians.

No one can read the Pakistani spinners at Chennai, as India lose the match by 136 runs.

The team has three world-class batsmen in Dravid, Ganguly and Laxman. No one else.

The 90s seem to be never-ending horror show for the average Indian cricket fan. There is no one to look upto.

There is no overwhelming influence on Sehwag. He idolizes Dravid and wants to copy him, but his aggression simply does not allow him to be technically as fluent. He never makes it past the Delhi team.

Ganguly, one of the finest opening batsman of his age, simply runs out of options for his opening partner.

No one plays those two innings in Sharjah.

No one plays that knock against Pakistan at the 2003 World Cup.

There is simply, a vast emptiness.

Can you imagine, an Indian team without Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar?

I didn't think so...

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