Viswanathan Anand Vs Sachin Tendulkar
Both are sports icons of exceptional talent and perhaps one of the best their respective games has ever seen in history. One being the king of 64 squares while the other the sultan of 22 yards. One plays an indoor game most of the times in A/C rooms while other sweats it out in gigantic stadiums full with spectators. When there is almost no similarity between these two except both being true gentlemen and great ambassadors of the sports they play and carry the country up their sleeves every time they go out to perform, then what is that I am up to when I say Viswanathan Anand Vs Sachin Tendulkar?
Don't get me wrong. I am not here to compare their individual achievements or their contribution in making our country proud, as it is proven beyond doubt that both of them stand comparable to none when it comes to accomplishing the above mentioned attributes.
Somebody once told me- "when you see millions hooting for you and trillion hands eagerly waiting to pat your back for the smallest of your achievement, that's what brings the best out of you." Having said that, I read somewhere that a true fighter didn't necessarily fights for rewards or recognitions. Think of Tendulkar. Whenever he goes out to bat he carries that billion plus revolving eyes with him. A huge pressure one must admit. But the reward is even equally huge. Every cover drive of him is cheered as if all hell has broken lose. The fans don't even think twice to give their office a skip to see this little man bat. If that's not enough few even take that huge risk of annoying their wives by watching the highlights all over again. Ekta Kapoor can go for a walk so as fuming wife. Interestingly fans doesn't necessarily stop at the highlights. Many take that extra burden to follow the master and his activities even if he is not playing. Sundry like when he started practicing at which local ground of Mumbai, where he was last seen with his family for shopping, which is the last car that's been just drove into his garage and a whole lot of other things.
Love for the little master doesn't end here. Some dedicated fans have erected a temple and tout him close to being a God. The latest dedication of a Mango in the name of Sachin speaks volume about the love and respect this man carries on individual heart. Won't you think, this is enough of pedigree for anyone to perform like Sachin do, if not more?
Here comes Viswanathan as brilliant performer as he used to be some 15 years back carrying the national pride up his shoulders, if not a billion plus hope. His performance needs no introduction as it is evident from his fourth world championship title on the day our cricket team literally being kicked out of a global event. Honestly, even if his performance and accomplishments doesn't need any introduction, unfortunately he himself does. A person who is the sole flag bearer of our country in this segment for close to couple of decades, being there at the top three for last decade or so, crowned world champion for the fourth time and let me not list out all other international events he has won, needs introduction is definitely represents the sorry state of affairs of our sporting knowledge. Terming it unfortunate is actually a very light statement to define this.
None seems interested for this gentleman's performance, not even our media who would write a full page if our cricket team somehow manages to squeeze into the semifinal of some event. None seems hooting when Viswanathan does a Queen's gambit. Nobody cheers out full throat when Viswanathan formulates a Sicilian defence to negate the threat from the likes of Kasparov or Kramnik. Still this guy continue to perform and perform at the highest level, if you want to believe even better than Sachin. Viswanathan doesn't expect a mango getting dedicated to his name let alone someone erecting a temple somewhere in Tamilnad. As a true fighter doesn't eye for rewards, this guy keeps on performing so that we can keep our heads high as Indians. He doesn't carry a billion hope but always makes sure that the billion back home does have a smile and proud feeling when he is done with his job, unlike our cricket team which carry a billion hope but doesn't bother or care to bring smile on the face of a single soul even.
Defying all odds to bring glory to the nation is a rare attribute that I associate Vishy with but honestly can't say the same for Sachin. When Sachin did exceptionally well in IPL, all thought the little master would change his decision and would return back to the T20 team flying to the Caribbeans. Hopes riped further when Shewag got injured at the nick of time, all thought now it has to be Sachin. But the little master had other ideas. He stood firm to his decision and said no to join the team. Just wondering, if he can play IPL whole through, can't he spare couple of weeks for the national team, the game, the billion plus fans who have given him the stature of God? Now look at Vishy. In the game of chess at the highest level, having black pieces is a huge back foot even before you move your first pawn. With black, the best you can expect is a draw. Faced with this setback when Vishy appeared for the 12th game with scores at level many might not have fancied Viswanathan winning it. But when the prestige of the nation is at stake, it brings the best out of a patriot. There comes Viswanathan with all his guns blazing and thrashing the opponent out of the way, eventually winning with black pieces. Not to mention his heroics did saw our tri colour flaying high on the soil of Bulgaria. Viswanathan could have chosen his comfort like Sachin and could have easily settled for a draw. This is what I say defying odds to see your nation stay proud.
For the first time I saw his fourth world championship title was at the front page. Thanks to Dhoni and team getting snubbed out on the same day or else our newspapers would have filled with the news of we entering semifinal and Viswanathan could have gone for a walk. Sachin's 200 takes the front page but Vishy's Minz title even struggles to find some place in page 15. Even if both these gentlemen are second to none when it comes to achievements, given any day I would rate Vishwanathan a notch higher than Sachin, if somebody asks me to name the better sportsman among these two. No offense intended, as I am as big a fan of Sachin as anyone is.
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