“What a Player, What a wonderful player” shrilled ,startled Tony Greig on his 25th birthday.
”That’s Awesome! That’s one for the Photographers and one for our memory” exclaimed the commentator when 145 Km/h delivery from Lee was sent to third man boundary.
”Open the text Book.Turn to Page 32” cheered , astonished Harsha on his straight drive.
“Welcome to Club 30 Master” uttered Sunny Gavaskar with the master lookingtowards the skies.
Maayans were wrong about 21st.Festive Mood.Celebrations of Christmas and New Year were ON,or at least,the preparations.To add onto it,India – Pakistan series was underway for the delight of cricket lovers.Yet,the bitter reality struck-the master, who saved India in the scorching heat of Sharjah,in the biting cold of Bristol,in thecozening Chennai wicket and who flew back to England to play for India just a day after his dad’s funeral, will no longer feature in blue!
My memories with Tendulkar and his flamboyant knocks date back to 1996 when my dad was busy watching Semi-Finals of WC not letting me watch my favourite ‘Tom and Jerry’.I was crying then to let me watch what I wanted not knowing that I would cry one day, when he would bid adieu.
A couple of years later,I was Eight and the time I knew the names of few players in Indian Cricket team.The majestic back to back hundreds in Sharjah. Broken Down Australian attack. Overwhelmed Tony Greig and an Indian Victory in the grand stage.What a knock that was! The ‘6’ of Warne and Tom Moody dancing down the track,a straight clear yet an elegant hit off Kasprowicz and the ball sailed into the stands for the nth time.Excited Tony screeches : “This man is the nearest thing to what Bradman has ever been.”
1999-Bristol.Match against Kenya.India lost the previous match against Zimbabwe.Sachin returned to England to play a day after his dad’s funeral and scored a dominant 140.Enough Said.Passion to play Cricket is synonymous with the little champion.
I was 13.A Tendulkar Fan then.WC 2003,Centurion.Tendulkar started off with a cracking back-foot punch through the covers.The consecutive Upper cut, leg-glance,a splendid straight drive off Akthar and the pump of his fists for the over throw-The scenes which are etched in my memories and that will cherish forever.”Thanks for entertaining us” exclaimed Robin in the post-match presentation, to sum up his brilliant batting.
India won the WT20 2007.People were calling for Tendulkar’s head.Certain NewsPapers carried “Endulkar”.My love, admiration and respect for the man only grew. His bat spoke as usual. The extravagant knocks ,138 against SL,117* against Australia,163 against NZ,175 against Australia, were enough to shut the critics mouth. A Rampaging attack of a 37 year ‘young’ Sachin against arguably the best bowling line up of SouthAfrica to score the 1st ever 200 in ODIs. Exclaimed Ravi Shastri, “ Gets it! The First Man on the Planet to reach 200 and he is the super man from India”. He was as clinical as a surgeon with his knife.Few of ‘THOSE’ News Papers carried ‘GOD’ as the headline this time.
In 2011, I was a Tendulkar Worshipper.He led India from the front in most of the matches in WC 2011.A Six off Dhoni into the stands was the moment India anticipated for,Tendulkar waited for 22 years.” He has carried the Nation’s burden for 22 years and its time we carry him on our shoulders” said an young sensation. Tendulkar waving his hands at the crowds and India, along with Sachin, lifting the World Cup: how can One forget?
There are so many of them. I look back to pick my favourite , yetI failed. There are so MANY. We are perhaps the most lucky kids to have witnessed and cherished the most of Tendulkar- The little dasher to the most complete batsman, the genius at work.The Smile, The Simplicity, The Standing Ovations for an INDIAN abroad, The humility, The Longevity,Re-Invention everytime,“Let the bat do the talking” attitude,The Greatest batsman looking at the skies,The flowing cover drives, The paddle sweeps, The Straight drives, The genius who can have people on their feet almost everytime he set out to bat, we will miss them all.
“IMPOSSIBLE IS NOTHING” – I wish he was immortal.
”You will never retire from our hearts Master.I will cherish all the memories as long as I live and carry them to my grave.Take a bow GOD”!!
“What a Player, What a wonderful player”!!!
Written By : Nanda Kiran