‘Get world record before May 31 or face cancellation of other records’
New Delhi: In an intriguing turn of events, the Supreme Court today gave Sachin Tendulkar four months time, and set May 31 as deadline to ‘accomplish his 100 international hundreds’, failing which ‘all his records will stand cancelled’.
A two-member Bench of the Supreme Court passed this verdict in response to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by a clutch of Indian cricket fans who had moved the apex court complaining that they had to sit through Tests that had double centuries by Alaistair Cook in England, Michael Clarke and Ricky Ponting in Australia in the hope that Tendulkar would get that world record of 100 international hundreds.
‘Not only we faced the mortification of Tendulkar not getting to that world record, but we also had to endure mind-numbing phases of Test cricket, which are those dull moments when after a batsman hits a four there are no replays of the cheerleaders gyrating gaily,’ the fans said in their plea.
‘The 0-4 humiliation in the Tests at both England and Australia are not exactly humiliations for us. Because we used to follow Indian football in the past. Anyway, winning and losing are everyday aspects of sport. But records aren’t so.’
‘We chose to put ourselves through the grind of Test cricket solely in the hope that Tendulkar would get to that milestone so that we can high-five ourselves in the bar later,’ the fans said and added ‘the greatness of cricket is that it is a team sport that is played so that individual records can be created.’
Accepting that there is prima facie merit in their plea, the two-member Bench, comprising Justice R S V P Gangopadhyay and Justice A S A P Pyarelal, said ‘we cannot but come to the conclusion that Tendulkar, by not getting to that elusive 100th hundred, was playing with the sentiments of cricket fans who are generally not used to the humiliation of watching Test cricket’.
‘Remember this is a country in which Hrishikesh Kanitkar is a bigger cricketing hero than Abid Ali,’ the court pointed out in a nuanced line.
Writing the order Justice Gangopadhyay said, ‘creating a situation in which people are cruelly compelled to follow Test cricket is a Constitutional no-no. This court is also of the considered view that making people sit through Cook’s innings is both heartless and heinous’.
Allowing the plea, the court gave Tendulkar four months time and set May 31 as the deadline to accomplish the world record. ‘Failing which all his other records stand to be annulled’.
The apex court, however, left it to a trial court to decide on the issue of whether to allow Sachin Tendulkar continue playing Test cricket. ‘As the Supreme Court we cannot be expected to give all the decisions. Even if you come to us for a verdict, we will direct a trial court to take up the matter. Of course, we will overthrow whatever the trial court decides when the same matter comes to us on appeal,’ it said.
Meanwhile, reacting to the verdict, sources close to Sachin Tendulkar said: ‘we feel vindicated. For, Sachin Tendulkar the person himself has been quite sad with the Test cricket player Sachin Tendulkar, just as the honest Manmohan Singh himself has been quite cut up with the acts of omission and commission of the Prime Minister and his office (PMO)’.
The BCCI, for its part, said that it would continue to back Tendulkar in his effort to get the world record. ‘He need not worry about the 31 May deadline. We will do everything possible. Like organising a Test match series with Bangladesh.’
‘But if he can’t get it even against Bangladesh, I think, we have no other go but to give Test match status to Honduras, which, for the record, does not have a cricket team, but has a few people who can identity a cricket bat,’ Rajiv Shukla, BCCI’s vice-president, pointed out.
Elsewhere, reacting to the verdict on Sachin Tendulkar, Press Council Chairman Markhandeya Khatju, in a press release, came down heavily on the Supreme Court for ‘wasting its time on frivolous subjects’.
‘Why is the Supreme Court giving a verdict when it can put its time to better use like reading P Sainath’s articles, which we all know are denser and longer than typical court verdicts,’ Khatju said and added ‘at any rate, the Supreme Court is mediocre. I should know, as I have been part of it in the past’.
Elsewhere, Janata Party president Subramaniam Swamy, filed an RTI application, seeking to know the real reason for India’s debacle in Australia. ‘My sources confirm that the only Indian who is coming back from Australia with his head held high is Leander Paes, who is a Catholic and loves Italian pizza. This is a conspiracy by the Christian mafia headed by Sonia Gandhi. I will expose them all by 31 April, overcoming all odds including the fact that such a date doesn’t exist at all’.
(Disclaimer: Agneepath film is deemed a hit because it is far better than the other Agneepath, we mean the Agneepath series)