Playing It My Way: My Autobiography by Sachin Tendulkar has received mixed reviews. Critics, openly and his admirers in undertone were disappointed by his autobiography. Much like his own career where failures received so much flak both from fans and critics. One has to read to find out why his book was also not spared.
Sachin Tendulkar is one such personality in India whose life has been covered both extensively and intensively by every kind of media. There are tons of biography already written on him so fans and critics were expecting something which are not known publicly. It is here the book dispoints.
Playing It My Way is nothing but the running commentary of the matches played by him for the country. Sometimes I felt that his life is all about cricket and nothing else and his autobiography is the simple written recording of it. Few anecdotes here and there were a reprieve amid of match summary.
There are subtle amount of information on his camaraderie with key players, dressing room anecdotes, key controversies, team selection, politics in cricket, level of preparation the team underwent for big matches, his business, endorsements, his relation with Vinod Kambali, why he fail despite of potential, match fixing etc. He has shared only two anecdotes related to his endorsements compare to the fact he was the brand ambassador of many products. He was vocal about Chappel episode and monkeygate controversy but then we all have read and heard a lot about it and his autobiography has nothing new to add. He was almost silent on issues like match fixing and team selection politics.
There is nothing much written about anything except cricket and his cricketing life. Initial few chapters are about Sachin’s childhood days and life as a budding cricketer. That was something new to read about. There is a full one chapter on Anjali his wife. He is grateful to have a supporting partner in the form of Anjali. He also shared his feeling when two of his kids were born. His stint in the county cricket was a delight to read. He shared many short stories related to it.
We all know Sachin has faced many career threatening injuries throughtout 24 years of his life as a crickter. Through media we all know that Sachin is injured and going to particular country for treatment. What we never know is that how painful are those treatments and recovery. This is something Sachin has shared in his autobiography. Also many a time players continue to play even in excruciating pain. Fans sitting in the comforts often fails to understand this. Something which I realized only after reading his autbiography.
Sachin is an outstanding crickter but was a complete failure as a captain. Sachin himself might have done a lot of introspection before giving up the captaincy. But for some reason it did not come down well in the writing. Sachin put the blame on not getting the desired team and nothing much. Readers could have done with some more insight.
Overall the book is all about his journey in terms of how many runs he has scored in a match, how he tacked the best of the bowlers, how unlucky he was because of some umpire decisions went against him, what he ate after the matches. The book essentially lacks the insights, the dramas, the thought process, and his opinions on others, his analysis, turnaround of Indian cricket team under Gary Kristen.
The Verdict: For all the die hard fans of Sachin is a must buy, as symbol of being his ardent fan, not necessarily for reading because we have seen all the matches but to showcase in our bookshelf.