Que: Why Master Laster and not Master Blaster in the book title?
Mr. Sumit Chakraberty: Sachin Tendulkar started his career with a blast. His centuries at Sydney and Perth, in particular, not only came on foreign pitches but were made at a fast clip against a good bowling attack.
We should have won the Sydney Test, but Ravi Shastri's double century took too long, and Australia escaped with only two wickets standing. After the nineties, Tendulkar's strike rate fell. Ironically, in December 2003, it was Tendulkar's conservative approach while making a double century at Sydney that was partly responsible for Australia escaping with a draw, this time with four wickets standing. In that sense, the Master Blaster had become a Master Laster. He was now more interested in spending time in the middle and reaching his milestones, than scoring quick runs even when the team needed him to hit out. That’s why Rahul Dravid was right to declare the Indian innings at Multan when Tendulkar was on 194 not out. His ODI career has followed a similar trend. In the nineties, he earned the moniker of Master Blaster after becoming an opener and smashing a number of centuries in India and Sharjah. India used to win over 80 per cent of the time when Tendulkar scored a century those days. But after the nineties, when his strike rate dropped in ODIs too, India was as likely to lose as win if Tendulkar made a century. The win percentage of his last 25 ODI centuries was around 50% compared to 80% for the first 24. And finally, in the last three years of his career, the runs dried up too, not just the strike rate, but he continued playing. Tendulkar’s batting average in his last 14 Tests over a period of two years was below 25. No other player could have lasted in the team with returns like that in series after series. Hence the title of Master Laster: What They Don’t Tell You About Sachin Tendulkar. No other book on Tendulkar has dwelt on these inconvenient truths.