Sunday, April 10, 2011

A toast to the champion!

This blog is a week overdue but then this job of mine doesn’t give me freedom enough to think peacefully and write the masterpiece that this exemplary human being deserves. No article, no comments and no writing can in full describe what this man has been to our country but then as a true fan and specifically one who has witnessed most of his remarkable career, I owe him this and despite not doing the justice that this man is so worthy of, it is still a salute from me and every other ordinary cricket fan that I represent! Pardon me if any of my comments are offensive to anyone. But these are all personal opinions and a bias towards the master is unavoidable for I have been an ardent fan of this man throughout my life.

When Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar was lifted up after India won the ICC World Cup 2011 and given a ride on the shoulders of one of the upcoming players of Indian cricket around the ground where it all started for this man, I knew that I was witnessing live, a history in making. The overwhelming feeling that overpowered every single fan who was watching that on television across the world is beyond imagination if you yourself haven’t been a witness to it. And when Virat Kohli said the words that “It is no pain to carry a man for 15 minutes who has carried the Indian cricket for 21 years”, you could see the emotions in the eyes of this genius cricketer who has indeed been the mainstay of this sport in this country over the past two decades.

Not to steal away any credit from the 100s of other gems that this sport has produced, but this man has become synonymous with the game itself and for that he deserved to be a part of a team that lifted the cup after 27 years. Every cricketer has at the back of his mind a dream to be a part of the championship winning team and this man has had that dream for two decades now! He has given his everything to the game and still has so much more left in him. Age has only made this man more classy, more stylish and more responsible towards his duties and it is an indefinable pleasure to watch his willow do the talking.

The Sachin straight drive is by far the best shot (a personal opinion of course) and every single one of those makes you think whether this man will ever become old for this game!! You still see him play every game with the same enthusiasm that a teenage boy has when he starts playing cricket with his local ‘gali’ friends. The World Cup was a crown jewel in the sparkling career of this prodigy and if this turns out to be the last major tournament that he has played, it was a fitting climax to an illustrious career.

Many felt that Dhoni was not given the credit that he deserved and the limelight was shifted to Sachin. I don’t really have to defend anyone here. (As a person very close to me says, you don’t have to defend when you know you are right. You just have to be indifferent to others!!). But old habits die hard and I have felt very strongly about this and I need a forum to express this. Sachin may not have won this for India and the team may not have won this for a single man… But all said and done, this man deserved to be a part of the celebration and to experience what it felt to be a part of the World Champion team. He has breathed cricket all his life and he owes this to himself! And all the cricket fans owe it to him!! What Dhoni did was a hearty gesture and if people feel that he didn’t get the praise that he deserved, well there is one thing that any Dhoni fan knows… The man with the Midas Touch has so much talent and so many years of cricket in him that a couple of more championships may definitely be on the cards.

As a finishing note, a salute to the Indian cricket team, the support staff, the rest of the cricketing community and above all, the cricket believers across the world who have been a part of this phenomenal effort on the part of Team India! No other team would have fitted the title better, not because they aren’t talented enough, but because this one made billions across the world feel proud of their country and I doubt there would have been an equal numbers of smiles (or even half of it), had it been anyone else!!!

Dedicated to Team India!!


  1. Surya,

    Heart-warming tribute I must say and since you have added that "bias" line (smart of you! :D) I will not directly attack the post (hehe) but I have my opinions as well (and these aren't to offend anyone either :)) Before I go ahead, I will, not that it matters, concede the understatement of the century: I have an immense respect for SRT and believe that the Kirsten-Dhoni duo, with their cool and low-profile attitudes, were the best to happen to the country in years. Congrats to Yuvi, Zak, Gambo and others who rallied around too.

    Back to my opinion (I am going to be indifferent to what others feel too): I frankly thought, think and will continue to think that "this cup for Tendulkar" was an emotional rhetoric taken too far. Being the man of equanimity he is, Sachin himself may not appreciate it all that much; but the fact remains - 21 years of genius, records never to be broken, the man's incredible hunger for runs, victories and more cricket apart - April 2, 2011 was made possible by so many others (as well) although it was, as you have said, a befitting tribute to the man who through the better part of the nineties was India's only shining night.

    Secondly, the cup is also in no measure a symbol of what the Gangulys, the Kumbles and the Dravids put in place. It may be a quirk of nature, accident, age, the needs of the team support staff or all of those that none of those legends were there in the playing fifteen; but those men (and Laxman, who has for long been sidelined from the ODI game because he doesn't bring much on the fielding front) made this possible.

    Finally, as a friend of mine recently said (and there was great validity in it!), this was not even a great Indian team (unlike the Australian teams of the last decade; or the Indian team in the 2003 World Cup) but everyone chipped in. That again reinstates what we in India, or Asia, always say (but somehow don't seem to quite take to heart): you can have world beaters on paper (Sachin has been one since 16!) but if the others do not turn up for the party, you do not win matches. Simply put, Sachin has needed a good "team" to achieve his single most cherished dream just as the Indian team has needed Sachin, not just for the runs he's scored but because of the sheer presence he brings to the dressing room and to the middle.

    None of the points made here, I reckon, are against the spirit of what you have said (if they seem, apologies da, that was not the intention). At the same time, one must always put the game first: in a way I was ELATED that Gambhir and Dhoni, both short on runs, made the challenging chase reach fruition. Gambhir, as far as I can tell, barely got a mention, apart from in one article in cricinfo. It's perhaps in the destiny of some men to remain unsung yet do what they do best. Somehow my heart (and its beat may be biased!) jives in MORE with ordinary and simple men who punch above their weights than geniuses who set the world ablaze. That's probably why I can ADMIRE - and even try to emulate in my field - a Sachin Tendulkar or a Sehwag, but never love them as I do a Kumble or a Gambhir (leaving RSD here; I don't want to get into a fight. hehe).

    Sorry for this essay posturing as a comment. lol

  2. Just one more clarification: I am not saying geniuses are "born"; that would take credit away from all that someone like Sachin has done. I am told that he still approaches every game with as much meticulous prep as he did twenty years ago - SALUTE! - but somehow in making him God (another expression I am loath to!) I suppose the cricket scene has made me keep Tendulkar at a distance emotionally. Not that it matters, though, I am a mustard in an ocean that is Tendulkar's fan club! :D

  3. Well well, I am not going to defend any of my arguments and I stand by them firm. Just a few clarifications. I happen to be an ardent fan of Gambhir and in the midst of a crowd that was going all mad over Sachin, I was among the few hooting for Gambhir!! How much I admired Dada or Kumble is not something that I have to remind you... So there is no question of taking the credit away from anyone who was part of the team or the process leading up to the formation of the team...

    And perhaps, that, my dear brother, is the reason why this post (even though a tribute to Sachin!) is dedicated to Team India (Hope you understand the patriotism within!!)

    But comments are always appreciated especially when on a topic of common interest, and from someone whose opinion you respect whole heartedly!!

    Thanks bro :)