Book: Winning Like Sachin – Think and Succeed Like Tendulkar
Author: Devendra Prabhudesai
Publishing House: Rupa
When your subject is one of the greatest, let’s just say the greatest ever, the task is that much tougher.
That is the task in front of eminent author Devendra Prabhudesai, the author of the latest in a line of multitude of books on the life and time of Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar. ‘Winning like Sachin’ is a slim volume that spotlights the attributes that made him a world-beater, which young professionals could do well to imbibe
The author does a fantastic job of getting parallels between the life of Tendulkar and what an average professional can learn from it. This is much in line with what Prabhudesai with his earlier book on Tendulkar, titled ‘Winning like Sachin: Think & Succeed like Tendulkar’.
There he brilliantly brought in a similarity between Tendulkar’s artistry with the bat and his way with words. The books are as precise as the straight drive eschewed by the Mumbaikar. Both come from Mumbai and the reverence with which the author holds his subject comes through in the book quite clearly.
But one thing is clear Prabhudesai does his job diligently. He is quite proficient with the most important element: research. He puts in a lot of labour of love in bringing out the book. He is particularly good with anecdotes that forms an integral part of the book.
Much like his earlier books, especially the one on Prabhudesai’s hero Sunil Gavaskar, this one too has a lot of nuggets which makes a cricket fan/enthusiast feel completely enriched.
A lot of credit is due in the way the book is structured. This a linear book with a narrative that makes you want to keep turning the page. Like someone who spent the whole of the 1990s as a teenager, this book was a tribute to the time that we spent worshipping Sachin the batsman.
Almost all of Tendulkar’s exploits are part of our lives, especially of those who grew up in the 1990s. Every Tendulkar milestone is part of our family chatter and also friendly banter. To have to encapsulate that and more via words is a tough ask.
Prabhudesai does an excellent job in particularly dividing Tendulkar’s career into three parts: —Prodigy (1984-91), Peerless (1992-99) and Perceptor (2000-13)—This is an excellent way of dividing the whole journey, because Tendulkar evolved during the three phases in different phases. It is therefore apt that Prabhudesai captures the essence very well.
Indian cricket’s journey from the time Tendulkar made his debut is a story worth telling. For a prodigy to become the mainstay if not the only hope of a billion people is a story worth its weight in gold. But what really sets apart the book is the way the author catalogues the early part of the journey.
The part where Tendulkar grows from being a naughty child to a prodigy. In doing this, Prabhudesai also draws parallels with the other two Mumbai batting stalwarts Gavaskar and Vijay Merchant. The author very rightly brackets the three in one bunch as the real practitioners of Mumbai’s batting school. The three played in different eras, but passed on the baton quite resourcefully to each other. The closest was the change over from Gavaskar to Tendulkar, who made his Ranji and India debut almost immediately after the Little Master left the scene.
For a 15 year old being picked amongst grown ups in a Ranji side till he retired at the age of 40, one thing that Prabhudesaicaptures the confidence and inner steel of his subject.
Prabhudesai’s best line in the book is this “Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar led Indian cricket formally for only two of the 24 years of his international career, and informally for the other 22”.
This sums up the book in many ways.
Today Indian cricket is worth nearly 30,000 crores and that in many ways is Tendulkar’s legacy. He came in at a time when Indian cricket and economy was in the doldrums, but by the time he left, the whole scenario had changed.
Above all what really makes you want to keep reading is because despite being revered as ‘God of cricket’, Tendulkar is shown to be a human, something which even his own autobiography failed to achieve.