Friday, November 6, 2009


What can bring us a cornucopia of feelings such as laughter, tension, exhilaration and sadness all inside three hours? Do you think only movies can do it? Think again. One man did it yesterday. He brought the whole nation to a standstill with a display of batsmanship that was beyond magical. He made us laugh with joy; he made us fall out of our seats in tension; he made us cry out of despair. I will never forgive myself if I don’t let out the emotions that were coursing through me yesterday into a written form as an ode to the legend of cricket. He has been my idol for fifteen years; the sole motivation for me to follow the crazy game of cricket; one of the reasons for my reluctance to leave this country- Sachin Tendulkar or, as I call him more often than not, Kadavul…GOD.

When Sachin started his innings yesterday I sensed that familiar glint in his eyes. Here was another chance to show his undying passion for cricket and commitment towards India. He batted in a surreal fashion, with nimble feet and amazing bat speed that reminded me of the year 1998 when he scored centuries at will and took India to series victories single handedly. It was once again down to that ritual of switching off the television once Tendulkar made his exit. But when he made his exit with just 19 runs required in as many balls, you would naturally expect the rest of the players to finish it off. Unfortunately, lack of temperament and patience did India in once again. An epic innings by a phenomenal legend ended up pyrrhic. It is not often that a batsman scores 175 runs in 139 balls only to end up on the losing side. But in sachin’s case it is quite common for him to bat as if he were saving his life only to be killed by his own teammates. It must have been the second time in his cricketing career that the champion cried; all cricket lovers will of course remember when the first instance happened- Chennai 1999. Both the cases are starkly similar. Sachin was the lone warrior in both of them. Sachin carried India to one foothold below the peak only to watch his teammates join hands in a combined suicide effort. He battled back pain and Saqlain that day. He battled the odds and the Aussies yesterday. Both turned out to be unfruitful, while both were a god given privilege for cricket lovers. All said and done, there is only so much a person can do. Sachin has done more than that for this team and for his country.

There might be recreation of the magic in the next game in Guwahati or the final one in Mumbai or in both of them. But none will come close to what this particular laborious attempt might have meant if India had sealed a victory yesterday. It was one win Sachin wanted badly and his teammates chose to let him down in pursuit of that. I couldn’t help but cry when he spoke at the presentation. It was the third time I cried after a cricket match…all three of them were because of one man-Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar.