One of the most enjoyable reads for any cerebral person, are those which analyse the circumstances related to an event or an issue and then come to a definite conclusion. The conclusions can vary of course, but what keeps the reader hooked is the way in which the writer reasons his case with facts, figures, incidents and definite proofs so as to reach the conclusion he is aiming for.
However, it becomes a pretty shocking read if the writer makes his mind up that he is going to conclude in a particular way and then provides irrelevant reasoning to prove his point. That is the sort of an article I read a few days back in these columns, which discussed whether Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara should be compared or not. For those who haven’t read it can have a look here (Comparing Tendulkar To Lara). Let me first reiterate, that I agree with the author’s conclusion but what I do not agree with is the way in which he reached it in the particular article. It is an embarrassment to logic, to put it mildly.
It was a potentially interesting read which was perhaps ruined by the author’s devotion to statistics and research, which in the end did not serve any purpose towards the final flourish, if it can be called one. In the initial part of the article, the author provides compelling statistics that in a way proves the fact that if you go by sheer numbers then Tendulkar is the better player. In addition to that, he also cites unnamed experts who have commented that Tendulkar is in fact the ‘pinnacle of cricket’. So, naturally anyone would think that the author is trying to drive towards his point that Tendulkar is the better player but the author’s next move was as comical as it was naive.
As far as my cricketing knowledge tells me, Tendulkar and Lara were from the same era but the article cites a study by an obscure economist who has proven that players from different eras cannot be compared since the level of fielding and bowling has progressively improved over the years. The citation of such a study is completely beside the point and in a different tangent altogether since the two batsmen faced the same sort of bowling attacks and fielding units during the major part of their respective careers.
The citation of that research was perhaps nothing more than an effort to dazzle the reader and establish some sort of credibility since the thought process of the author was surely going nowhere. How can that study be even remotely related to a fair assessment of the batting prowess of Tendulkar and Lara? Granted, if someone wanted to compare the abilities of Tendulkar and Sir Donald Bradman as a batsman then the citation of that study would have made some sense but to invoke it in this case was nothing short of a limerick in prose form.
Even the last paragraph of the article might cause some sort of confusion. Consider this: – “The debate over Lara may end some day, but history has put Tendulkar in a place where he will always be compared with other cricketers.” Mind you, this is in the last paragraph and the author still considers Tendulkar to be a greater player than Lara but all of a sudden he changes his mind, throws caution to the wind and declares- “There is little sense in comparing the greats like Tendulkar and Lara.” Perhaps, the writer could have poured some sense into the article so that it had not been such a pain on the logical faculties of any fair minded reader.