If statistics are like bikinis – they reveal as much as they hide – it has left one guessing “what if?” on the eve of Sachin Tendulkar surpassing Steve Waugh as the player with the most caps in Test cricket.
It is obvious that reaching 169 Tests has not been easy and not without the injury scares on the way. In contrast, news of Steve Waugh and Sanath Jayasuriya, who leads Sachin in the ODI list despite entering the cricketing arena nearly a month later than he did, missing out for crucial phases in their long careers don’t jog into the memory. A look at the career spans, courtesy Cricinfo, shows that Sachin’s graph does span the most time in the post 1971 era and which includes the evergreen Imran Khan.
So what if… Tendulkar had not missed out on the matches he did because of injury. He would have had many more double centuries like he got against Sri Lanka last week to stress once again that he has proved age has got nothing to do with his appetite for run, already 13,742 runs comprising 48 centuries at an average of 56.08.
But did he miss out on much? On the contrary he has missed out on 14 Tests. Steve Waugh missed 21 in his 168-Test career. Something doesn’t add up. It means the Maestro did not get enough matches or chances to add to his stockpile. And whose fault will that be? The ‘Board’ which infamously ‘Controls’ aspects of ‘Cricket’ in India where it shouldn’t and vice versa. So while BCCI was adding on ODIs in every itinerary home and abroad in place of Tests, it has inadvertently delayed the Mumbai man’s march.
Technically Tendulkar has lived 976 days in cricket without playing a Test if you deduct Waugh’s career span from his. So what if.. Tendulkar had played those extra 976 days? Your guess is as good as mine but the best part is the man is not complaining. But what if…?