Book Review: Tendulkar Limits it to Himself in ‘Playing it My Way’

Sachin Tendulkar's Book Book Review Playing It My Way

Sachin Tendulkar's Book Book Review Playing It My WayWhen cricket fans heard about Sachin Tendulkar’s autobiography being released, there was joy and curiosity around. Unquestionably, it was the most awaited autobiography in the history of Indian sports. What was it that the fans didn’t know and they could find out from this book?

Well, ‘Playing it My Way’ proved to be a book on Tendulkar’s achievements and his life as a player rather than Tendulkar as a person. The book talks about everything: Ranji centuries, his maiden century, Australia tours, world cups, the Waqar bouncer, partnerships, sixes and victories. The book would have been incomplete without acknowledging “Achrekar Sir” and his experience of playing under him.

The book, published by Hachette, made headlines as the Greg Chappell controversy was thought to be exposed. However, Tendulkar chose to limit it to himself and instead discuss his two stints as the captain of Indian Cricket team. Tendulkar recollected those hard times when the national selectors refused to provide him the players he wanted and his teammates did not pay attention to his suggestions.

Ups and Downs in Career

Captaincy was one subject that Tendulkar talked about openly in this book. He regrets missing out on a double century for six runs when Rahul Dravid (the then Indian captain) declared the innings in the Multan Test in 2004. His annoyance with Dravid, Sourav Ganguly and Coach John Wright put forward his emotional side in front of the readers, which was normally not seen on field.

With his playing career being the fulcrum of the book, Tendulkar has tried to make his fans understand that playing a sport at the international rank is not an easy road. With that, he tells us how he braved injuries in the second-half of his career and performed for the country. As fans we make judgments on a player’s game and his injuries, but what the player goes through we really don’t know.

No Mention of Controversies

The readers, who thought that the book would unfold the mystery behind match fixing issues and the bans on Mohammad Azharuddin and Ajay Jadeja as well as Tendulkar’s strained relationship with Vinod Kambli, didn’t get to know much on these issues.

However, Tendulkar, who has been a reticent man on and off the pitch, could not have been expected to reveal something that would create a furore in Indian Cricket. For the young generation that has grown up watching Dhoni and Raina, it would be interesting to know more about the Indian cricket in the 90s, which were turbulent years for Indian Cricket. What we do get an insight into is Tendulkar’s enigmatic relationship in the early 90s with his wife Anjali. A whole chapter named ‘Anjali’ sheds love and romance which a casual reader adored. His devotion to family and friends and his belief in superstitions also found a mention in his book.

Emotional Side of the Man

The autobiography does carry Tendulkar’s criticism of Australian players: Ricky Ponting for his part in the Monkeygate controversy and Adam Gilchrist for appealing for a Dravid catch when there wasn’t a notch. Tendulkar has penned his outlook moderately and last pages of the book make an emotional read as he talks about his decision to quit international cricket along with his farewell speech at the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai. What disappoints me is that there is no reasonable explanation about his decision to quit ODI Cricket all of a sudden.

Although little more candidness on certain important issues would have made the book more interesting, Tendulkar’s ‘Playing it My Way’ doesn’t seem to be a complete disappointment as it has its share of watershed moments. I would rate it three on a scale of five.

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