Sachin Tendulkar and nervous 90s: just bad luck or more?

Along with the allegation that he plays for his record one more complaint against Sachin has been that he has got out too many times in the nervous 90s. In fact truth to be told, he has set a world record of sorts in getting out in this zone that is dreaded by every batsman who values his wicket and performance. However, before we delve further into the ramifications let us take a look at some stats, because contrary to what Neville Cardus may say, the scoreboard is not always a donkey.

Nervous 90s in One Day Internationals 

Following are certain interesting facts about Sachin Tendulkar and his dismissal in nervous 90s in one day matches:

  • Sachin has played 463 one day matches from 1989 to his retirement in 2012 and in those matches has batted in 452 innings.
  • His first dismissal in the nervous 90s came during 1996 which was his 7th year in international cricket. Before that he had never been dismissed in the nervous 90s. His last dismissal in this score came during 2009 after which he played 3 years of one day international cricket.
  • He has got out 17 times in nervous times and been stranded once on this score. However, in these innings he has averaged 100.35.

Admittedly, in most of these cases the team has lost. A few exceptions are there however like the superlative innings against Pakistan at Centurion or the one against Sri Lanka a few days later in the same World Cup.

Nervous 90s in Tests 

Following are a few statistics about Sachin Tendulkar and his dismissal in nervous 90s in test matches:

  • Sachin first got out in the nervous 90s in tests during 1994, which was his 5th year in the international circuit and last got out in that score during 2011 after which he has had a couple of decent years in tests.
  • To date he has got out 10 times in the nervous 90s in the ultimate form of cricket.

Arguments against Sachin 

The critics and fans have stated that Sachin has never been able to handle the pressure of the nervous 90s and one major explanation for them is that he is more interested in achieving personal milestones instead of team goals. They have often cited how he slows down when he nears his century in order to make sure that he gets there but quite often he ends up losing his wicket in the process.

Arguments for Sachin 

  • For people who think Sachin always scores slower when he gets close to his centuries especially in one day matches he has maintained a career strike rate 86.23 with an average of 44.83. These statistics show that he has been able to score high runs at a fair clip throughout his career.
  • Sachin has played 780 innings in international cricket and has got out in the nervous 90s only 27 times but has also has 100 international centuries to his name. The figure 27 is a miniscule number in every sense of the term when compared to 780 international innings.
  • In spite of the advent of countless stars like Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly, VVS Laxman, Virender Sehwag or recently MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli, he has always remained the lynchpin of Indian batting and so has tried to shoulder the responsibility of guiding the innings as and how he has seen fit. Even the Indian team management with the exception of the Rahul Dravid and Greg Chappell era has never questioned his commitment and drive. For critics who cite this period to question the legacy of Sachin Tendulkar it should be kept in mind that this era has cost India two exceptional quick bowlers in Munaf Patel and Irfan Pathan.

As has been said time and again, cricket is a team game and no player, irrespective of talent or capabilities or achievement, has been able to transcend it. While pointing fingers at a sportsman of Sachin’s stature fans and critics tend to forget a few things:

  • Every batsman needs to start from zero and it does take a lot of effort to get to what we call nervous 90s. These scores show that the batter in question made an effort to make a difference but was unable to do it due to whatever may be the reason. It is said that it is better to fail trying rather than failing for the want to try and in all these cases Sachin accepted the onerous task of helping his team to victory but was not able to achieve the goal.
  • In matches where Sachin has failed to convert a 90 to a hundred has he been the only one to “fail”? How has the rest of the team performed as a unit?

Perhaps the problem of being Sachin Tendulkar is that most people think you are God and expect you to pull off divine feats every time you perform. What people admire is the result; what they do not see is the years of hard work and toil that went into making Sachin the player he is today. Perhaps these facts too need to be kept in mind before he is labeled a failure by some for the times he has not been able to carry on and score a century after falling in the 90s.

Read More about Sachin Tendulkar:
Sachin Tendulkar Biography
Playing It My Way Book Review: Sachin Tendulkar’s Autobiography
Top 10 Batsmen in the World of Cricket
Sachin Tendulkar: One of a kind
Who can break Sachin’s record?
Sachin Tendulkar and nervous 90s: just bad luck or more?
Was Sachin a Selfish Player?
Is Sachin an excuse for the BCCI?
The other side of Sachin Tendulkar
Sachin Tendulkar against spin bowling
Sachin Tendulkar against fast bowling
Sachin Tendulkar’s Cricketing Journey
Unforgettable Moments of Sachin’s career
Sachin as the next coach of India
Sachin Tendulkar Records
Childhood of Sachin Tendulkar
Journey of Sachin Tendulkar