Sachin ton: Did India's milestone obsession cost us the win?

As Bangladesh hit their way to a historic win, one couldn’t help but wonder if India had sold itself short. Given the start India got and Bangladesh’s toothless attack, India should have stepped on the accelerator after the 30th over and probably aimed for a total over 300.

But instead, everyone seemed to get stuck in Tendulkar’s quest for his 100th ton.

The master batsman took 42 balls to get from 77 to 100 and all this while India were trying to win a match.

 Sachin ton: Did Indias milestone obsession cost us the win?

Indian cricket fans hold posters of cricketer Sachin Tendulkar to celebrate his 100th century in Jammu, India, Friday, March 16, 2012. AP

Between the 30th over, when India were 154 for 1, and the 40th over, 203 for 2, India pretty much lost the plot by scoring just 49 runs. And 34 runs of those 49 came during the third Powerplay when Suresh Raina was throwing his bat at just about everything.

Tendulkar ended up with 114 in 147 balls. His team-mates got the remaining 175 in 153 balls showing that there runs on offer if the batsmen were prepared to go for it. Even the Bangladeshi batsmen Shakib Al Hasan, 49 off 31 balls, and Mushfiqur Rahim, 46 off 25 balls, didn’t find the going too difficult. So was Sachin going all out for a win or for his century?

After the match, Waqar Younis said it without mincing any words: “Some people may not like it but Sachin’s ton lost India the game. India should have got over 300, this is that kind of wicket and I said that in the last match too.”

Once you are in your 80s, it goes without saying that you are well set. You've gauged the wicket and the quality of the bowlers and isn’t that the time when you push on to greater heights? Instead, Tendulkar got bogged down with the ton in sight.

While taking nothing away from Tendulkar’s incredible achievement of 100 international tons, it begs the question: Is India’s obsession with personal milestones (100s and such) holding back the team?

Because at the end of the day, isn’t sport about winning and losing. Everything else is an after-thought. And in the record books, it will be noted that India lost the match.

Even when Rahul Dravid announced his retirement, he was asked whether he didn’t feel that he should have played at least one Test against New Zealand to bid a proper farewell to his fans.

His answer revealed why he has managed to earn the respect of everyone in the cricket fraternity.

“See Anil (Kumble) could do that because he decided in the middle of a series. I sat down after the tour of Australia, thought about it and decided I was done. No use going out there and taking the place of a youngster when I know it’s time for me to hang up my boots. This isn't about me, it's about India,” Dravid had said.

We could think of so many others who would’ve wanted that one last fling; that one last high; one last bit of personal glory. Not Rahul.

After the end of the Indian innings, Sachin said that he wasn’t playing for his milestone. And for most part, we believe you Sachin. But sometimes deeds speak louder than words.

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Updated Date: Mar 17, 2012 13:28:08 IST