Yes, I know. I know that once this article gets published, I might become the worst villain of the country for I’m questioning the holy, the ‘God of cricket’, Sachin Tendulkar. When he was in his prime, there were rising hushed allegations that he was only looking to breach the milestones. Well, if you delve deep into his career, there are times that you may feel the same, however, your heart always provided that counter, didn’t it? “Nah, it can’t be—he’s a genius, the master blaster.” And why not? He has been the biggest reason why I took a strong liking towards a game that enthrals millions of people. As Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar turns 44 today, here’s a look into some of the incidents that are dent into his profile.

The ninety-long tale: The world would cease to matter when Sachin came out to bat. His classic copybook drives with the head still and elbows pointing just right when he bisected two fielders was a joy to watch. However, when he would be in his sublime 90s, the nervousness would creep in the fearless batsman out of nowhere so much so that he was caught 27 times napping when his score was between 90 to 100. Maybe we are looking too much into this! But why was that so? Did he have the records, his personal achievements at the back of his mind? Was he selfish?

Of the 49 ODI centuries that Tendulkar has scored so far, 13 such three-figure scores have ended up in a losing cause for India. Usually, when a batsman in your side scores a century, you win 9 out of 10 times. That doubt has been haunting his fans all through their lives. Out of the 93 times, Sachin Tendulkar has scored a fifty, India has lost 35 times, does that say a story? Surely, it does.

As Sunil Gavaskar says, fans remember even the scratchy tons but they do not remember the classy 90’s, that is the tragedy of this sport. In terms of movies, it is like you remember a film if it breaches the 100-cr mark? (Usually, that’s how a common man’s brain functions). And why should Sachin not have been selfish, when a cricket-crazy nation like India was always drawing parallels of him with the Laras, Inzamams and the Pontings. He was always under pressure and hence, becoming selfish with time was obvious.

Jellygate: I dare call him a cheat, but it happened—at least, there were rumours and allegations making rounds in Australia where Sachin was accused of ball tampering, even using jelly-sweet to get it scuffed up. So, after all the runs he has scored and the records galore that he has set, there are still questions that are bound to be raised over his integrity.

What a Cake: In 2007, when team India had travelled across the Atlantic to play the World Cup, the team was invited by the Indian High Commission for a function. At that get-together, a cake bearing the colours of the national flag was cut by Tendulkar. Such a depiction isn’t allowed by Indian law and Tendulkar found himself in a muddle. A case was filed against him in a Court in Indore. Delhi Police too received a complaint about his act.

Sachin, the man with the grit and courage of a lion, has risen above all these. Here’s wishing the legend a very happy and prosperous birthday.

(The writer is a big Sachin fan)