Learn from Tests in time of coronavirus: Sachin

Cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar tells India to keep up the fight against Covid-19 and take it session by session, day by day like the game’s most demanding format:

Cricket is a unique sport. Most sports compete against other sports for fans’ attention, but cricket competes with ever evolving versions of itself. There has been much debate about the relevance of Test Cricket in the fast paced T20 world. While the world battles the Covid-19 pandemic, this is probably the time for all of us to draw lessons from the grand old format of the game.

Test Cricket rewards you for respecting what you don’t understand. It makes you value the virtue of patience. When you don’t understand the pitch conditions or the bowler, defence becomes the best form of attack. Patience is what we require now, if we have to defend well. In my entire life as a professional cricketer and beyond, I never thought I would see anything like this. Cricket in India and globally has come to a complete standstill.

To use a cricketing metaphor, while individual brilliance can help a team in shorter formats of the game, in Test cricket it is all about partnerships and teamwork. If a batter faces the easy overs and keeps letting partners take on the menacing bowlers, then he or she may score runs and remain unbeaten, but the innings will collapse. This is a valuable lesson for us to learn from.

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The novel coronavirus is a disease the world is yet to understand. We are seeing rising infections and fatalities in countries which did not take necessary precautions at the correct time. A mere attitudinal change of accepting that what we’re facing is beyond our collective comprehension will go a long way in combating the disease.

Everything else can wait. We need to not just look after ourselves but be responsible and considerate towards those around us too. Some of us may have higher immunity, but by not taking necessary precautions, we may end up being the vector and transmitting the virus to older people or those whose bodies may not have the resistance to viruses.

Test Cricket is about staging comebacks. There is always a second innings, if you’ve missed the first one. Different countries are at different stages of their fight against coronavirus. But with a positive mindset, all of them can overcome this pandemic in their own ways. All nations should consider themselves part of one team. They should talk to each other, keep themselves motivated, pat each other’s backs after a long day’s play and come back harder the next day to continue the fight.

Today, there is an increased stress on screening personnel in airports, healthcare professionals in testing labs and hospitals. While we applaud their brave efforts, we also have a duty of reducing their workload and buying them time. If we can all avoid non-essential travel and social gatherings, that will help in reducing the number of people who need to be screened. This will in turn help the frontline warriors in our fight against coronavirus, and simultaneously help them in attending to only critical cases. This will also buy ‘time’ for scientists and doctors across the world to fully understand the nature of this disease.

Remember that we can stop the spread of Covid-19 pathogens only if the entire community remains sanitised, and not ourselves alone.

As individuals, let’s follow the recommended precautions from health experts. This pandemic has been a true test of our character, but it has also brought all of us together. We shall take this battle session by session, and eventually emerge victorious.

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