It was in November 1989 that Sachin Tendulkar played his first Test Match against Pakistan and that was to launch him into an illustrious career. In 1991-92, the then Finance Minister Dr Manmohan Singh presented a revolutionary budget which was to unleash the entrepreneurial spirit of the Indians and lead to the globalization of the Indian economy. The budget launched Dr Singh into a political career which has seen him become the Prime Minister.

Both Sachin and Singh were professionals in their chosen fields. Sachin practiced long hours from the age of eleven and under the watchful eye of his coach was to learn the fine points of the game. He was to make an impact at all his first three domestic appearances in the Ranji trophy, Duleep Trophy and Irani Trophy by scoring centuries a record which holds today also. Singh hailed from a refugee family and was brilliant in his studies which culminated in him getting a doctorate degree in economics from Oxford. Singh also presented path breaking budgets which brought him tremendous laurels and boosted the economy of the country under the leadership of Prime Minister Narsimha Rao.

The initial few years performance by both were so powerful that they soon became the darling of the Indian masses. Runs flowed magnificently from Sachin's bat not only in India but on foreign grounds also. He squarely faced fast bowlers and their ire and hit them to all corners and beyond. His fame got established in cricketing circles and crowds thronged the stadiums to watch him play. Sachin's batting prowess brought him immense recognition and comparisons with the great Bradman.

Dr Singh also gathered accolades for steering the Indian economy from a dismal state in 1991 when the foreign exchange holdings had come down to around $ 4-5  billions capable of meeting the barely three weeks of exports. His removal of controls, introduction of banking reforms and abolition of licensing system was to broaden the industrial base and lead to a rise in India's international trade considerably. Singh soon was being hailed by international experts as one of the world's finest Finance Minsters.

Emerging from an acute financial crisis both Sachin and Singh by their able performances brought positive appreciation for India in foreign countries. The almost simultaneous emergence of India as a growing IT power was also to bring lot of respect to India and Indians after a long time could walk with their heads held high in world capitals.

Along with Sachin other players also were contributing and soon BCCI started cashing on the love of cricket in Indians and started exploiting the game for earning unheard of revenues. This led to the players at all levels of the game getting handsome emoluments far more than they could ever imagine. The game of cricket was successfully corporatized.  Soon BCCI was to become the richest cricket body in the world and would play an important role at the international level.

Similarly Singh's boost to the Indian economy saw the global interest in India and attracted enhanced foreign investments. All this led to increased job creation and also saw the emergence of a new class of entrepreneurs and new areas of investment. The economy was liberalized and this created a level playing and led to India's image being enhanced in global financial markets. So much so that many Indian industrialists brought ownership holdings in many foreign companies. India's foreign exchange reserves were to jump to nearly $300 billion against single digit holding in 1991.

As often happens, in both their careers a period of slump came. Sachin was creating record after record and was being hailed for it all over the world. He frequently suffered from injuries but the determined person in him saw him emerge stronger every time. But age was beginning to catch up with him. His reflexes were slowing down. The number of times he was getting clean bowled was a reflection of this slowing down. The very fans who raised him to the level of a demi god were now suggesting that he should retire from the game. He announced his retirement first from the T20 and then from the One day format, but not before he had set further records and scored his 100th hundred. The BCCI supported him throughout by saying that he will decide his time of retirement . For the immense contributions he made to the game he deserved this honour.

Singh was in for a shock when in spite of trail blazing economic reforms his government was voted out of power in 1996 elections. He was elected to the upper house and was to act as Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha till his party was elected back to form the government in 2004 as UPA 1. He was the surprise choice of Sonia Gandhi for the post of PM a post he continues to hold it till date. In between the UPA won the mandate in the 2009 elections also and Singh is the PM of UPA 2. During  UPA 1 and initial years of UPA 2 the economy saw handsome growth in its GDP growing at as high a rate as 9%. The economist PM got lot of respect and credit for it from all over the world. But today the growth rate hs fallen to less than 5%. His government has been periodically rocked by corruption scams. All this have caused a severe dent in his image not only in India but outside also. An honest and dedicated person has been let down by his own corrupt colleagues and coalition partners. He is today seen as a honest person but a weak leader.

Today Sachin has retired from Test cricket also. No longer will we see him play again for the country. He has managed his retirement very well. In an well crafted and highly emotional farewell speech there were many a tearful eye in the Wankhede Stadium. The whole cricketing world has bid him a fond farewell. He has entered into the history books as a legend with multitude of records and will always be remembered as one of the finest cricketer the world has ever produced. It was India's good fortune that he was born in our country.

Singh has a few more months to go before the 2014 elections are held. Will his government be elected back to power. As of today the chances look bleak. Even if it does manage to come back the chances are high that Singh may not be the PM once again. His innings is getting over in 2014 for sure. He has also to retire after a long stint as PM and before that as Finance Minister. However in his case even though he laid the basis for an economically  strong India and guided it through very high GDP growth rates, he will be quitting politics as someone who was badly let down by corrupt colleagues which reduced his hold and dented his own reputation. He came as an honest person and will leave as a dented honest person.

Both came at a time when India was suffering from the impact of a collapsed economy at the start of 1990's. In their separate ways they handsomely contributed to raise the esteem of India and Indians globally. They sincerely worked hard and won the affection of the country's masses. However Sachin manged to maintain his reputation intact till his retirement but Singh lost it on the way.

Sachin lost many battles in the field but won the war but Singh won many a battles in the Parliament but seems to have lost the war.


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