Wednesday, February 24, 2010
The God of Cricket
Yes. Every Indian knows who I'm talking about. Sachin Tendulkar. And yes I know a million people who would also be talking about him now. What better time to pay tributes to his batting genius. He has become the first batsman in the history of ODIs to have scored a double ton. YIPPEEEE. I can't explain how excited I got hearing it. Yes. I didn't watch the match today. I didn't even listen to commentary today on the radio. Further still, I didn't even log on to cricinfo to check the progress of the match. I was caught up with some work all afternoon. It was only after a friend called me in the evening that I got to know. It may well have been a plain batting wicket, a fast outfield and an ordinary bowling attack. But a double ton is a double ton. And SACHIN is SACHIN.
He, for me, is cricket. I love watching the game. There was a time when I wouldn't miss a match. Having never been able to play, I still knew quite a few technicalities of it since my childhood, the knowledge of scores and statistics notwithstanding. I remember despising having to prepare for a class test. I would console myself that there was a match that day and I could prepare whilst watching it. After the match-fixing scandal when the cricket craze diminished amongst many, it didn't affect me much. But gradually ofcourse it sunk into me that merely watching every single international match (and many of the English County matches) isn't serving a purpose.
I do follow the game though not as closely. But Sachin was always my favourite. His was the only poster I ever stuck in my room; and that poster I had for almost a decade. There were times when like half a billion Indians I would say a prayer for him as he took strike as an opener. I used to be very superstitious for the first ball he faced. I felt I should watch it without batting an eyelid or else he would get out. I'd feel like switching off the TV once he got out but I wouldn't. After all, he is supposed to be part of the game and not vice versa.
Lets leave all that aside- My love for (watching) the game, my unconditional favouritism towards him and the fact that I'd written a (one and only one, mind you) letter to him. Let me also inform you that I NEVER had a crush on him. Far from it. I need not talk about all his records for they will be splashed over all newspapers tomorrow. We will have many cricketing greats praising him to no end. So let me in my small way laud yet another of the little master's amazing feats. He is the first sportsperson who created an impact in my mind, the first cricketer that I can remember watching. And by far the most enjoyable. I just love it when he hits a six over the bowler's head with a dead vertical bat. My favourite shot of his.
Most people acknowledge that he is one of the best batsmen of all time. What more praise than from the Don himself! How he faced criticism. Not through words; through action instead. To accept the lean patch as only a passing phase and bouncing back to form. To play like a winner. To play like the best. His grace, his style, his dedication and passion for the game, his range of shots, his placement, his timing, his level of concentration, his ability to predict the next delivery and above all his sportsman spirit. A toast to everything that he stands for as a cricketer, as a sportsperson. It is only befitting that he is the first to have established this record. It just had to be him. One more to his tally of records. This, like many other records, will be broken. But, as Gavaskar once remarked; ' Thousands have conquered the Everest, but every child remembers only two names: Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay.'
And one very striking detail of his example is that he hails from an average middle class background. It is a reassurance that if you put in your best efforts, work with all your heart you can become the best. That not everyone need be born with a silver spoon.
Three Cheers to you, Sachin.