Monday, April 24, 2006

The Bat and the Wheel

Now, I’m no great Formula-1 fan, but it seems to me as if Michael Schumacher and Sachin Tendulkar have had quite a few interesting parallels in their careers.

Tendulkar, though 4 years younger, started his international career about 3 years before Schumacher debuted in Formula-1. Hence, his career has been a few years ahead as far as the parallelism is concerned.

Both Tendulkar and Schumacher didn’t really meet with much success immediately in their careers. Tendulkar’s first couple of years in the world of international cricket weren’t anything to write home about. Schumacher didn’t make too many headlines in his first two seasons either, with guys like Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna doing most of that instead.

Tendulkar first showed that he might actually have something in him in England in 1990, and followed that up with two centuries in Australia in 1991-92. Schumacher, for his part, won two consecutive titles for Benetton in 1993 and 1994. Both had now set their mark in their respective sports.

Tendulkar had unbelievable time of it in the period stretching from ‘94 to 2000, saving for the drop in form around ‘97. He was arguably the best batsman in the world during this time. Schumacher had his heyday in period 2001-04, winning 5 consecutive titles for Ferrari, and quite easily dominating the Formula-1 scene for the most part.

In the past four years or so, Tendulkar’s career has been in a noticeable decline. He can still muster the odd innings of brilliance, but is nowhere near consistent. He’s not been able to stand up to the next generation of cricketers as the sport, like so many others keeps on becoming a younger man’s game. Schumacher’s story for the past year and a bit has been quite similar. A few impressive performances here and there, but failure to sustain any sort of consistency. The younger brigade has taken over Formula-1 too.

I think Tendulkar should seriously start thinking about retirement right about now, and Schumacher should follow suit in a couple of years.

You’re probably muttering to yourself by now that this sort of a career graph belongs to almost all great sportsmen. Well, I won’t argue with you on that, because it’s true.

Tendulkar and Schumacher both lost a close parent during their careers and showed similar tenacity in recuperating from that loss. In Tendulkar’s case, his father passed away during the 1999 World Cup in England and he flew home for the funeral which he then followed up with a century when he got back to England. Schumacher’s mother died just before the San Marino Grand Prix in 2003, which he then promptly went on to win. Clearly, both of them know how to put personal sorrow aside when it comes to delivery time.

Of course, there have been quite a few dissimilarities between the two sportsmen as well. Most notably, Schumacher gifted Tendulkar a Ferrari and got a cricket bat back in return! Thank God Sachin wasn’t an athlete, or Michael might have ended up with a pair of running shoes instead!

But to conclude with one final similarity - I don’t like either! I’ve never been too fond of Tendulkar, and in the little Formula-1 that I’ve watched, I’ve always cheered against Schumi! Here’s hoping they both retire soon.


_ð!®†ß¤¥ said...

Sachin sux, Schumi sux...
Cricket sux; F1,soccer ROKK \m/
May the Figo and the Alonso rule!!

Arnold said...

facesmasher - yeah, like i said in the post - i hate both sachin and schumi... but i'm not that keen on soccer either.. basketball's the way to go, pal! (and baseball's not too bad either!)

ruhey said...

Alonso roxx...and as for Schumi well yea 2005 was a DISASter for him, it was the alonso and kimi lovestory happenin last yr, anyway,schumi may not retire unless he wins a championship, and rumors say tht ferrari is looking for 2 new i m interested...
anyway...may the Fernando+Renault hit the jackpot again this year..
and for the record..i m BIG Dravid Arnold..i love the last few lines of ur post!

Arnold said...

ruhey - lol.. looks like there are plenty of alonso fans around! (also looks like he's going to win another title, if the early signs are anything to go by)...

btw.. i'm not a great dravid fan either.. (guess u're pissed now!) :P

nithin said...


havent read ur blog for some time and i think this is the first time i'm commenting!!!

first the schumi issue - i honestly think its being blown out of proportion. Ferarri on the whole were dismal last year but schumi was wayyy better than his teammate(and yes...he probably does get preferenmtial treatment!!!!). but i really think he has it in him to last another couple of years was evinced in the last race wher he held up alonso for pretty much the entire race in a much slower car. A weaker man would have caved. F1 has been a bit mundane since hakkinen left. But i think, in alonso, schumacher has a formidable rival...and its gonna be damn good racing for the rest of the season - if ferarri can keep up their act!!

as for sachin - well...i am a die hard sachin fan. The typical indian guy who considers sachin his demi-god. So all rationale is thrown outta the window when it comes to sachin!!! I will admit that he is nowhere close to what he was 4-5 years ago. But....mark my words....he will be back:):)...just u wait!!!!


Arnold said...

nithin - ok.. i think i said this earlier.. but i'm no fan of either.. i seriously doubt tendulkar will be back.. it's really hard to believe.. and schumi.. well.. he's got a couple of years of fight in him.. but i dont see him winning anthing..