Saturday, October 18, 2008

Sachin Tendulkar - An Icon

"He has become susceptible to the short ball early in his innings"

"He is not a match-winner"

"He is uncomfortable in the second innings of a match"

"He can't play left arm pace with ease"

The list above is not exhaustive as there are a lot more points highlighted by his critics from time to time. Though, the best part is that these critics have been silenced all the time, some times by the words of his fans while most of the times by Sachin's willow. So, these all comments didn't restrict me from celebrating when I read during a live commentary on some site yesterday, that he has guided Siddle's delivery towards third man to surpass Brian Lara's record. Records are meant to be broken, no doubt about this but yesterday, it was perhaps the last time we saw a record getting broken by Sachin Tendulkar. So, this post of mine is dedicated to a person who has always been a sports icon for me, and will always be.

There is a saying, a great batsman can handle any delivery, but a genius can punish the great delivery. This saying can be true for many batsmen from Sir Donald Bradman to Sir Garfield Sobers to Sir Vivian Richards to many more; but for me, the word "genius" has always echoed only one name – Sachin Tendulkar. For me, even the word "cricket" has been resonating with the same name since the day I could connect myself to cricket consciously. There were times when I felt disheartened with the religion of cricket, whether during match fixing scandal or during the 1999 world cup performance or during our early world cup exit in 2007; but I never felt disillusioned with the Cricket God. Sometime in the last week, two people asked me same question, "Tell me any wildest (but censored) fantasy of yours" and my reply was the same, "To open an inning, with Sachin Tendulkar standing on the non-striker end." If that day ever happens, I won't mind even getting a first-ball duck (which I hate the most), though I would definitely love to spend more time on the pitch. Anyways, that is a very distant dream and for time being, I want to just see Sachin completing the story in 2011 (again I'm acting very optimistic) which he left incomplete in 2003 WC final.

I don't know about others; but to make me feel happy from saddest of the moods, all it takes is a century by Sachin. I can recall those times when at home, we made a deal/bet about our respective players. It was like- the person whose favorite player would hit a century; he/she shall treat others by preparing the breakfast of their choice on the next day. I took Tendulkar (pretty obvious), my sis's favorite has always been Dravid, and similarly mummy's favorite has always been Saurav. However, papa has been changing his players (because his favorite has been Tendulkar and when I'm there in the bet, he has to select someone else) from Azhar to Jadeja to Sehwag so as to remain in the deal. That was the year of 1998 and it doesn't require any mathematics to deduce that I won (or lost, I don't know) that deal the maximum number of times. This is just a very small sample of my life which I spent with Sachin's performances. And I am sure there are lacs, if not crores, of people like me who have spent a big part of their life watching Sachin hitting the balls across the ropes.

At times when our heroes struggle and when they need our support we are out to crucify them. Perhaps age is catching up on him; perhaps his body has taken a toll from 17 yrs of test cricket. But instead of uniting and supporting our team, we are all out to discredit everyone else but our heroes. The tragedy in doing that is we as individuals deprive ourselves of enjoying great players. Whether Sachin ever recovers his magic is not important anymore, what matters is that India keep doing well and Sachin play his role. His role has transformed a lot, and till date, he has not disappointed. I won't suggest him, unlike most of the critics, as how to play because you simply can't teach the best; and at least I'm not competent enough. Anyways, what I think is that a day will arrive soon when Sachin would walk away from the pitch forever and 20 yrs from now we will be complaining how India never got a great opener in ODI and #4 in Test to replace him, just as we are still trying to find a half decent all rounder to replace Kapil.

We have many demands from him; most of the times he has paid heed, but when he doesn't, we cry in anguish. Life has many experiences in store for us, but it leaves very few permanent imprints. Those exuberant celebrations after the final ball of the Hero Cup semi final or those feats amidst the Middle Eastern desert storm and violating the dreams of Shane Warne or that 6 of Shoaib Akhtar in the World Cup match were such imprints.

We grew up being fanatical about our little champion and I can't help it but just growing old in those memories. So, if they ever tell my story, let them say that I lived with legends, with icons. Men rise and fall like the winter wheat, but these names will never die. Let them say that I lived in the time of Michael Schumaker, Roger Federer, Michael Phelps. Let them say I lived in the time of Sachin Tendulkar.

1 comment:

Quaintzy Patchez said...

It was like- the person whose favorite player would hit a century; he/she shall treat others by preparing the breakfast of their choice on the next day.

Wow! The next post should be about your culinary skills then!