Hello India! I want to present this Life Chart to all my fellow Indian bloggers,with whom I've had such good correspondence. I also know that in India cricket is a religion and with a current population of 1.22 billion, it means that in the sub-continent cricket is huge. Australian batting legend (and current Test player) Mike Hussey said a couple of years ago :- "God. I've met him. He bats number four for India". This could only mean one player- the greatest run-scorer in the history of the game- Sachin Tendulkar.
Now I imagine many of my readers will never have heard of a Life Chart before, so to put it simply:- I examine a very small number of years in anyone's life to look for significant events. These are called 'Years of Revolution' (ie. ages 12,24 and 36) where upheavals and new eras commence and 'Years of Broken Pathways' (ie. ages 7,19 and 31) where challenges and new directions happen. I subscribe to the idea that we live our lives in 12 year cycles, that are of a similar broad nature. This is a totally new concept, but I imagine it may have some synchronicity to Eastern spiritualism, even though it is not a religion and is based solely on biographical evidence.
With regard to Sachin's illustrious career I am first going to visit the age of 19 . This is his first adult 'Life Cycles' significant year. Does it represent a challenge and a direction change? He already had begun his Test career at 16, so what does 19 hold? Any summary of his most important innings will include the magnificent counter-attacking 114 at the fast-paced WACA in the Fifth Test versus Australia (I apologise to non-cricket fans here....it must sound like a foreign language). India had lost the series and were well behind, when Tendulkar first made a big impression on the Aussies and announced his arrival on the international stage, with this fighting innings. We knew who he was after this. Fast bowler Merv Hughes quipped to Captain Allan Border :- "This little prick's going to make more runs than you AB" (which he did). He now had a reputation to defend and build on. This was his Broken Pathway.
Next we'll travel to his age 24 'Year of Revolution' (23rd April, 1997 to 23rd. April, 1998). Was he now at the height of his sporting powers, as so many other elite athletes are? Was he like Novak Djokovic, Tiger Woods or David Beckham? His biography clearly says that it was the beginning of a period at the top of the batting world, culminating in the Australian tour of India in early 1998. He not only scored three consecutive centuries but terrorised our spin bowlers (including Shane Warne) by charging down the pitch. He also took a five wicket haul in an ODI (One Day International) to steal victory. He also won the Rajiv Ghandi Khel Ratna (India's highest honour in Sports and literally 'Sport's Gem'). Is this enough for you?
Actually there is more that happened in this important year. We look for fateful moments in a person's life that shape the future. Sachin had taken over the captaincy in 1996 with great expectations that his own game would be imbued in other players. However results were disappointing and the prior captain, Azharuddin, took back the role in Sachin's 'Year of Revolution' saying he did not think:- "it was in the small man's destiny." This ultimately proved to be prophetic, as Sachin's second term as captain didn't work out well either and he resigned, with Ganguly taking over in 2000. He also refused an offer in 2007 after Dravid resigned.
Let's now travel to his age 31 'Year of Broken Pathways' (April, 2004 to April, 2005). Was there again a challenge and direction-altering moment? Was it again related to his reputation? I have set up the hypothesis just as any academic researcher would. I only have a window of 12 months to operate in. This is how a 'Life Chart' works. Now who knows their cricket? What am I going to discuss next? Of course it is his tennis elbow injury, which sidelined him for most of this fateful year. I read an article that said he pleaded with God every single day to be able to keep on batting. It could have ended his career and of course reshaped his reputation. He tried everything in the second half of 2004, including delicate surgery and shock treatment. His prayers (along with good doctors and physios), however were answered at the end of the year, when he returned with a double ton against Bangladesh.
It is also true of the challenge set up by the 'Year of Broken Pathway', that it takes several years to resolve. Was this so with Sachin? Yes, he had a poor 2007 World Cup in the West Indies and it was not till he was aged 34, that he fully recovered with Man of The Series Awards and leading run scorer against South Africa, England and Australia. So now this leads me to his last significant year; his age 36 'Year of Revolution' (April, 2009 to April, 2010). How was his new era ushered in? Would it feature retirement and new directions, or would he further consolidate his career as the best batsman ever after Don Bradman (Australian batsman with an average around twice everyone else's). In 2009 he had a string of injuries and mishaps and rested himself from some matches. Although towards the end he amassed 17,000 ODI runs, with a memorable 175 off just 141 against Australia, it was still not enough to win the match. His follow-up form against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in the Tests was solid, but his defining moment was still to come. It was a statement making innings that says:- "I'm here as good as ever".
In the next 2 Test series against South Africa he made hundreds in both, but then in the subsequent ODI's he became the first batsman to score a double century with a very memorable 200 not out. This stands as one of his greatest innings. There is no doubt he was still at the top of his game, just as he was in his last age 24 'Year of Revolution'. He, of course, did not stop and followed this up in the next year by being part of the 2011 World Cup winning team.
This is the essence of 'The Little Master'. He combines the themes of sporting greatness along with the capacity to rise to the challenge of establishing and defending his fighting reputation. This is derived from analysing what happened in his adult 'Years of Revolution' (ie. a peak of greatness at 24 and 36) and 'Years of Broken Pathway' (ie. rising to the challenge at 19 and 31). They are linked themes that run through his life. What's more with 'Life Cycles' you don't have to believe in fate or destiny, you just have to study the biographical facts.
However, if you are inclined towards destiny, then you should know that there is a timetable I have uncovered. Please read all my other copious evidence if you want more proof. Until next month:- "may the cycles always bring you good fortune".