~ A retrospection on Sachin Tendulkar’s non-endorsement of tobacco and liquor brands ~

“Tobacco consumption can be injurious to health” – one of the oft-seen and highly (mis)used disclaimers in the advertising world. Over the years, its effect on tobacco consumers had not been as it was expected to be. The Seventh Edition of the annual Tobacco Atlas, released by Vital Strategies and the Tobacconomics team at the University of Illinois at Chicago, suggests that there are 1.1 billion smokers and several hundred million users of other tobacco products in the world.

Another 2021 WHO report suggests that tobacco claims the lives of more than 8 million people each year, out of which, 7 million deaths are due to direct tobacco usage while around 1.2 million are the result of passive or second hand smoking. The same report suggests that over 80% of the world’s more than a billion tobacco users belong to low- and middle-income countries, which includes India and the other South Asian countries.

In this ever-concerning sphere of tobacco consumption, one of the factors that have been contributing hugely is the space of brand endorsement. Big tobacco and liquor brands have been at the forefront of indulging in sponsorship and celebrity endorsements to tempt the masses into using their products, for years. It was in the late-90s, when apart from sponsoring big award shows, world tobacco makers targeted the Indian sports industry as well and ventured into sponsoring events, leagues, and team kits.

Amidst this then-new and profit-making trend, one man that was undeterred was Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar, the man who brought a revolution to Indian cricket and gave hope to billions of dreams. It was in the late-90s when big global tobacco brands entered the Indian market to sponsor the Indian men’s cricket team’s kit. While many from the team including senior players put the sponsors’ names and logos in their kits, Sachin refused and instead left his bat blank for about two years.

Considering how big brands paid for endorsements and how at that time, the salary of the cricketers was in the range of a meagre 15 thousand Rupees only, it was indeed a big and daring move by Sachin.

At the core of Sachin’s refusal to endorse tobacco and liquor brands is his promise to his father, but there is also an inherent virtue Sachin has carried all along throughout his career and beyond.

Sachin’s commitment to work for the underprivileged section, especially children, is quite evident through his decades-long involvement with UNICEF, and other key initiatives.

His commitment and vow to not endorse any tobacco and liquor products could not be shaken during the IPL as well, where he again refused to endorse any sponsors that deal with tobacco or liquor.
In today’s world, where the advertisers adopt various sly measures like surrogate advertising to promote their products, the onus is more on the celebrities or youth icons to choose their endorsements responsibly.

The recent controversy regarding the endorsement of a tobacco brand by a Bollywood star is one such example, where he had to tender a public apology later on.

The brand’s tagline itself has become a hit among people, especially the youth, resulting in scores of videos and memes floating around it on Social Media. This bears testimony to the impact celebrity endorsement can make on the youth.

In this regard, another shocking finding of the 7th Edition of the annual Tobacco Atlas can be pointed out, where it suggests that although there is a drop in the percentage of adult smokers from 22.6% in 2007 to 19.6% in 2019, the rate of smokers in the 13-15 age bracket is growing. This age denotes the teenagers who are more vulnerable to falling prey to tobacco consumption through advertisements.

When the celebrities that they look up to themselves promote the tobacco products through eye-catching advertisements, the risk of consumption surges. In one of its advisories, the World Health Organization (WHO) suggests for a comprehensive ban on both direct and indirect forms of advertising, sponsorship, or promotion of tobacco products, to reduce its consumption.

It is true that it is not easily possible to have a consensus among celebrities to not endorse any tobacco or liquor products, given the changing landscape of advertising and marketing. But it is also noteworthy that by standing true to his words and beliefs of not endorsing any such products that can harm someone, especially the youth, Sachin has been carrying on a silent revolution, in a way.

Countless of tobacco and liquor brands approached him over the years with multi-crore deals, but he chose his ideals over money, every time. He knows the worth of his public image and how his deeds can impact his admirers, and this self-awareness and determination uphold the dignity that his name carries.

For almost two decades now, Sachin has been selflessly associated with the UNICEF, and several other government as well as non-governmental initiatives to offer a better life to the underprivileged children, and to give wings to their dreams. In today’s fast-changing world, amidst all the other pandemics, tobacco consumption is considered another ‘epidemic’ that has been impacting billions of lives each year.

With this, as we celebrate World No Tobacco Day, one can only hope that the silent revolution Sachin has been leading by not endorsing any tobacco and liquor products, become a roaring revolution in times to come.

NEW DELHI: India’s series opener against West Indies at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Motera on Sunday will be the hosts 1000th one-day international overall. India in fact will become the first cricket playing nation to play 1000 ODIs.

And on this occasion, Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar, who played a stupendous 463 ODIs for India, congratulated the country’s cricket fraternity.

Tendulkar, who had been part of India’s 200th, 300th, 400th, 500th, 600th, 700th, and 800th ODIs, said, “India playing their 1000th ODI is a huge milestone. The first ODI was played in 1974 and now in 2022 we are playing the 1000th ODI.”

When the Indian men’s team faced England in their first-ever ODI at Headingley, Leeds on July 13, 1974, no one really would have expected India to become the first nation to reach the milestone of playing 1000 ODIs.

It (the 1000th ODI) was only possible because of the past cricketers, the current cricketers, the past board members, the current board members and not to forget the most important people – our Indian cricket team’s well-wishers – from the past generations and even the ones who are today with us and the ones who are going to continue being with us, I would want to say that it is an achievement for all of us,” Tendulkar added.

From Tendulkar’s debut till his retirement, India played 638 matches. Incredibly it was India’s 166th match when Tendulkar made his debut against Pakistan in 1989 and the Little Master announced his ODI retirement after the 804th ODI India played in 2012 – also against Pakistan.

Continuing his effusive praise, Tendulkar said, “The entire nation should be proud of this and hope Indian cricket continues to go from strength to strength. I know we’ll be playing on the 6th of February against the West Indies in Ahmedabad, I want to wish them all the very best for the coming series and especially for the 1000th ODI. Good luck.”

Since the inception of ODIs in 1974, out of all the ODIs played by Team India, Tendulkar has been part of a whopping 57.58%, whereas in terms of the ODIs played during his career, he featured in 72.57% of the matches, which reflects his unparalleled contribution during this tremendous journey of the Indian cricket team.

When asked to pick one top ODI knock from his glittering career, Tendulkar said, “I would say the first 200 in ODI that was scored, which I got against South Africa, that would be one of the landmarks, because the bowling attack was also good and it was a very good opposition, it happened in ODI history (men’s cricket) for the first time, so it has its own relevance. So I would say that my double hundred against South Africa would be one of the important knocks in ODI cricket for me.”

Sachin Tendulkar, on National Sports Day, tweeted a video where he took some time out from a shooting stint to play cricket with the crew members, giving them a special moment to cherish. The experience for the crew members became even more special when Bollywood stars Varun Dhawan and Abhishek Bachchan also joined in. This was a surprise not only for the crew members but also Sachin Tendulkar who greeted both the stars warmly. “It’s always good to mix work with play. Had a lot of fun playing cricket with the crew during a shoot & was pleasantly surprised with @Varun_dvn dropping by along with @juniorbachchan who joined us for some time. #SportPlayingNation #FitIndiaMovement,” Tendulkar tweeted.

As the video progressed, Sachin is seen gently asking Varun, “We are planning to play cricket, are you keen to join”, to which the Judwaa 2 star agreed instantly.

The game started with Sachin taking the strike and Varun bowling. After that Abhishek Bachchan also bowled a couple of deliveries to the Master Blaster. When a ball bounced awkwardly, Tendulkar jokingly said, “it’s a dangerous wicket”.

After completing his batting, Sachin hands the ball to a budding cricketer Jeeya and encourages her with his motivating words.

Varun Dhawan who had a lot of fun during the match expressed this by replying to Sachin’s tweet. Varun also praised the Sachin for his wonderful initiative.

“#SportPlayingNation what a brilliant initiative this is sir. Had a lot of fun running into you that day sir,” Varun replied.

Sachin Tendulkar, the world’s most successful batsman in terms of number of runs scored, retired from international cricket in 2013. He is the only cricketer who has 100 international centuries to his name. He also holds the world record of playing 200 Test matches.

In the game of cricket, we have seen many cricketers scoring a century at least once in their career. However, we have not heard of a cricketer completing his century in his age. Yes, you read it right. The former first-class player identified as Vasant Raiji, the oldest living cricketer in celebrated his 100th birthday.

Basant Raiji was born on January 26, 1920, and it was really glad to see the oldest living cricketer in India celebrating his special occasion with legendary cricketers Sachin Tendulkar and Steve Waugh. Both the legends marked their presence and cut the birthday cake with Raiji at his residence.

“Wishing you a very special 100th birthday, Shri Vasant Raiji,” former India batting great Sachin Tendulkar tweeted as a caption. “Steve & I had a wonderful time listening to some amazing cricket stories about the past. Thank you for passing on a treasure trove of memories about our beloved sport.”

Raiji featured in nine first-class matches in his decade long career. He has scored 277 runs at an average of 23. He was a specialist right-handed batsman. He made his debut for the Cricket Club of (CCI) and played against the likes of Central Provinces and Berar in Nagpur in 1939.

He made his debut for Bombay in 1941 under the great Vijay Merchant’s captaincy. He also shared the dressing room with other legendary figures like Lala Amarnath, CK Nayudu and Vijay Hazare.

Post his retirement, Raiji joined his family business of chartered accountancy. His love for the game never declined as he went on to write books on cricketers like Victor Trumper, CK Nayudu, and LP Jai.

Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Sunil Gavaskar, P.V. Sindhu along with other stars of Indian sports will attend the historic pink-ball Test match in Kolkata.

Sachin Tendulkar, Sunil Gavaskar and Kapil Dev attend India’s first-ever day-night Test match against Bangladesh starting November 22 in Kolkata on Friday.

The iconic Eden Gardens is all set to witness a musical extravaganza in the presence of former cricketers, celebrities and politicians during India and Bangladesh’s first-ever pink ball Test.

The Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) also plans to felicitate sporting stars, including Olympic champion Abhinav Bindra, Sania Mirza, P.V. Sindhu and six-time boxing world champion M.C. Mary Kom among others.

According to BCCI President Sourav Ganguly, the second Test of the two-match series will be one to remember.

“Sachin (Tendulkar), (Sunil) Gavaskar, Kapil (Dev), Rahul (Dravid), Anil (Kumble) everyone will be there. In tea time, there will be carts going around the stadium with former captains in them,” Ganguly said here on Wednesday.

“There is a musical performance at tea time and at the end of the day there is a felicitation. Both the teams, former captains, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Chief Minister will be there.

“Runa Laila will be performing, Jeet Ganguly will be performing. I am very excited. Just see the excitement, four days are already sold out in a Test match,” he added.

Asked whether after the Eden Test, India will play a day-night Test in its upcoming tour to Australia in January next year, Ganguly replied: “We will see.”

The CAB and BCCI have put in place several plans to mark India’s maiden pink ball Test.

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is expected to ring the ‘Eden Bell’ along with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on the first day of the match.

Besides, a host of sporting starts, including star shuttler P V Sindhu, chess ace Viswanathan Anand and tennis sensation Sania Mirza are expected to grace the occasion.

As per plans, paratroopers are expected to fly into Eden to hand a pink ball each to captains Virat Kohli and Mominul Haque just before the toss.

The CAB has also organised a talk show featuring the ‘Fabulous Five’ of Indian cricket — Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Anil Kumble and V. V. S Laxman during the 40-minute dinner break. They will talk about the historic 2001 Test win against Australia at the Eden.