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!!