It has been exactly one year when we saw the great man bid adieu to his passion, his life after 24 years. The autobiography which coincidentally released on my birthday is already selling out more than the Steve Jobs one. I pre-ordered the book on the day it was up on Flipkart and received it in a day of its launch. It was very uncharacteristic of me to have done this for any purchase of my life. All said and done here I am to write my first ever book review and what better to start with God’s own book. As an ardent fan of his, it is really difficult for me to put an objective review of the book but I will try my best for the same.
Sachin Tendulkar’s autobiography co-written by Boria Mazumdar is titled “Playing it my way”. This book pans out all the important events in Sachin’s life and is mostly presented in the chronological order. I would say most content in the book is known to the world but with additional information about his batting technique and his play. The book has covered all the important series/matches which Sachin was part of. It has stories of what he thought the fiercest bowling attacks and how he countered them. Also, the book speaks a lot about his family and his wife Anjali in particular. The chapter about Anjali gives us a great example for Sachin being a human after all and will give the reader quite a joy.
It is really awesome to know all the strategies which Sachin used to use when batting, fielding, and bowling and of course as a captain. This book also gives a description of string of injuries he faced till the last season and quite a revelation that many matches he played while he was still injured. While watching the game we never realized the pain he was going through. And everyone will agree that the commitment was never missing in his intent in all aspects of cricket. Needless to say, his first test hundred, Sharajah sandstorm innings, India-Australia 2001 series, World cup matches will still give us the goosebumps while reading as we got while watching it live or on YouTube. I feel the end of the book will bring the readers very close to Sachin as the story telling of his last moments in cricket is exceptional. It might be as we have lived those moments only a year ago but definitely this chapter is like a cherry on the cake.
What I feel this book missed on is covering certain important events in his life which he never spoke of in the media. This book would have been a perfect platform to express those views. Although, Greg Chappell saga, Monkeygate scandal and dissent for selectors and BCCI as a captain have been covered well. I think his feeling about the team and the dressing room atmosphere during the notorious match fixing controversy in 2000 is the biggest miss of the book. All the fans are only aware vaguely without any valid references about the match when Ganguly and he won the match on their own chasing 250 odd as they had smelt rat down the batting order.
Kambli, with whom he shared almost all his formative years, hardly finds a mention worth the relationship. The World Cup ’96 incident where Kambli cried and was like a final nail stone to his career could have made it to the book. The last thing which I personally and my fellow schoolmates must have expected him to talk about in the book is his life in school, Sharadashram Vidyamandir. Everyone is aware that Sachin did miserably in his school. I am not suggesting that he should have all the negative aspects of his life covered. But it would have acted as an inspiration to all the aspiring sportsperson.
Finally, this book should have a mandatory presence at a fan’s home like all the other religious texts. It is an excellent account of all the cricketing aspects of his career, his frame of mind while batting, and strategies as a captain. This can be used as a manual by all the budding cricketers. But it lacks a personal touch from Sachin and his fans might still feel that there is still something left which he hasn’t shared with us. This book leaves us wanting and expecting more from him as 130 million people have always been. We have expectations from him because we know very well that only he can bear it without complaining.
P.S. The most used word in the entire book is “embarrassed”. This speaks volumes about Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar’s humility. Read it to find out more.
The article was also published at Sportskeeda.