Long day…enervating classes…a couple of ad-hoc (but highly useful) sessions…assignments to complete…applications to submit. But this post’s about something else, or rather, someone else.
He’s been around so long, that, as supporters of the team wearing blue, we claim a certain ownership; almost as if he was this huge corporation, of which there are over 1 billion shareholders (even more if you count the lovers of the game world–over). And a hugely profitable corporation at that. If an ad were to be made; the famous mastercard storyboard would go something like, cable connection…Rs. x/month, time off from work/school…Rs. Y…watching Sachin bat…priceless!
Be it ever so simple as that. In the test series, Sachin got out to Shoaib, fending a short one down the legside. Moin Khan indicated in his syndicated column that this was the beginning of the end for the only man who could probably make the verifiable claim that John Lennon made decades ago about how the Beatles were more popular than ‘you-know-who’. The Pakistani wicketkeeper, who, going by his article, having had questionable levels of education, and was also allegedly part of the noble clan of match-fixers went on to suggest that Sachin was in fact not out, but walked because of his fear of the fast bowler. To be fair, you can’t blame the guy, he’s only trying to make a buck, albeit by using sensationalism as opposed to by underperforming to lose matches for his country. But, I digress.
That dismissal was followed by two when he was needed to get big scores in the Karachi test. One was a casual shot, the other, a bit of bad luck, but maybe he should’ve been playing forward. The daggers came out, the point of discussion on every channel that can afford to rent bandwidth on a satellite, was if Sachin was nearing his ‘best-sold-by’ date as a cricketer. Experts (read as former players), most of whom, had distinguished themselves by warming benches on tours and having batting averages in the single digits started reasoning why he is no more the player that he was and that its time to retire.
And then Sachin went and ruined it for them. In the first one-dayer, he scored an even 100, his 39th in one-dayers. Before the volte-face articles by those same journalists extolling how he was comparable only to Bradman come out, I’ll state that I didn’t get a lot of pleasure from watching him bat in the early overs (the rest of the time was spent in class). He was unsure about his feet, playing and missing, in–cutters thudding into pad and then he was also bowled on 20 (off a no-ball). not something that should happen with such alarming regularity to a top batsman, leave alone, someone on the all-time greats list. My point is, it was an innings far below his standards, and I state this in spite of the 8 fours and 1 six. So, have I sold my soul and joined the lot who think he’s done.
Hell no! the very point I’m making is that the man does not owe his stature as a cricketer to trifling innings on featherbed pitches. He’s far bigger than inane series averages and attention-seeking pseudo-journalists. Those who’ve been paying attention, would know, that he stills scampers around boundary ropes diving to save runs, that his face still contorts in agony when he misses a potential direct-hit run-out, that he still jumps with the glee of a 19 year old when one of his teammates takes an important wicket. That he has been wearing that Indian crest in the same manner for over 15 years…with pride. That’s what makes him the cricketer, nay…the person that he is. And hence, he could play for 5 more years and not make a run, for me, he’d still be the best that ever will be. Yup…Sachin not score runs…like that’s gonna happen 😉 guess that’s why we have clichés “Form is temporary…class…is permanent”
p.s: if you’re a Sachin fan, feel free to comment…if you’re not…I dare u to… 😉