Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar may be headed for another unique record. Much after he has retired, there is no stopping authors and writers from penning books on him. Devendra Prabhudesai’s Hero, A Biography of Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar, is yet another addition to the collection of books on Tendlya, as he is affectionately called.
Does this book tell something different from what we already know of the legend? Probably yes! It is written by a person, who for much of his working life was cricket administrator — an insider in the Indian cricket board — but very humane in comparison to others he worked with or worked for.
His detailing may not be as impeccable as a cricket writer who would have covered Tendulkar at home and abroad. Then there are many who write biographies without ever meeting the person they are writing on. But Prabhudesai is totally different.
He was very much in the thick of the things. He knew Tendulkar from a very different perspective and that gives his work a very different value, to say the least.
His narrative is fast-paced, goes back and forth from the day when Tendulkar was drafted into the Indian team for his first major Test series against Australia, the land Down Under — to when the Little Master from Mumbai finally lifted his dream at home — the 2011 World Cup.
This is a kind of seminal work that should find space in any cricket reader’s collection, moderately priced and without any designing overdo. A simple, old style biography book with two sets of photography stops midway through.
Despite being a very busy person — working for the BCCI is like a 24-hour job — Prabhudesai has found time to pen books in the past too.
He has written the biographies of Rahul Dravid (The Nice Guy Who Finished First — 2005) and Sunil Gavaskar (SMG — 2009), and Rupa Publications was keen to complete a trilogy of sorts with a book on the third Indian to score 10,000 Test runs.
Prabhudesai has captured Tendulkar in a very simple sense that thoroughly matches the cricketer’s style at the crease.
Like Tendulkar, Prabhudesai too played his initial formal cricket at Shivaji Park in Mumbai. Since then though they took different paths in their respective careers.
And, it was during his stint at Professional Management Group, a Sunil Gavaskar co-owned company, that Prabhudesai got to interact with Tendulkar extensively.
He joined BCCI since then and Tendulkar became a subject that he could never forget. Interestingly, the book is full of anecdotes that we have never known of. Prabhudesai has sourced all this from friends, journalists and Tendulkar’s teammates over the years.
Generally encapsulating 20 years since 1990, Hero starts where Prabhudesai’s biography of Gavaskar ended. That was a veritable history of Indian cricket of 1970s and 1980s.
At one place, Prabhudesai summed up Tendulkar brilliantly: Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar led Indian cricket ‘formally’ for only 2 of the 24 years of his international career, and ‘informally’ for the other 22.
So as I wrote at the start that Tendulkar is headed for a unique record — does any sporting icon across any sport has so many biographies, coffee table books, an autobiography, a film and documentaries? Maybe not, maybe yes. In that pile, Prabhudesai’s, Hero stands out distinctly.
Name: Hero, A Biography of Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar Author: Devendra Prabhudesai Publisher: Rupa Publications Pages: 486 Price: Rs 500