I am writing this letter to you based on the developments in the last couple of days about the revelations from your soon-to-be-released autobiography “Playing It My Way.”
We all loved you as a cricketer and as a person all these years. Do you really have to do these selective leaks from your book? I certainly think that you should not have done this, and for that matter, you shouldn’t have mentioned about this in your book too. Having said that, I believe that there were only two controversial incidents all through your cricketing career.
The first involved match referee Mike Denness handing you a one-match ban for allegedly tampering the seam of the ball, during a match against South Africa in 2001. This created an unholy row, and it resulted in the match referee being replaced. We trusted you through the entire episode and we stood by you, for you were beyond all malpractices when it came to playing cricket.
The second one was your role in the monkeygate controversy involving Harbhajan and Symonds. You testified in favor of Harbhajan and we believed you, in spite of the fact that the Aussies were appalled by your defense of Bajji. Ponting even questioned your role in the monkeygate scandal in his autobiography. This episode in effect ended the career of Andrew Symonds for good. However, we could not look beyond your words and actions then, and we still believe that you did the right thing.
The recent selective leaks from your book where you recounted a private conversation with Chappell just before the 2007 world cup, was it really needed? As the marketing adage goes “Controversy sells’, you don’t have to do that being Tendulkar. We have put you on a pedestal and you mentioning about an incident that shouldn’t have found a place in your memory looks very cheap. For the ones who do not know what I am referring to, apparently Chappell suggested to Tendulkar that he should take over the captaincy from Rahul Dravid and they both can rule Indian cricket for years.
There were two options for you Tendulkar – to keep quiet about a private conversation that Chappell had with you or inform Dravid and the Board about this and keep yourself away from this. You chose to do the former and now after 7 years, you have mentioned about it in your autobiography. You have used this information for your personal gain as it does not in any way help cricket as a game or the board that runs the game. Look at the way Dravid responded to the leak, when he was asked by the media.
We believe that what you are saying is the truth as we cannot distrust your words, after seeing you for so many years and the way you have carried yourself. However, you need not have mentioned about this in your book and need not have released this information before the release of the book. Were your publishers worried about the fact that Rs. 599/- was a steep price for your autobiography? You have mistaken the people of this country and they would have paid much more for your autobiography.
Anyway, the mistake is already made and I would put this as the third blemish of your career. Would I want to buy the book now? It is a question for which I do not have an immediate answer.