Monday, December 24, 2012

Just the memories...Sachin

"Dear Sachin, First of all, Heartfelt wishes for completing century of centuries, and many many thanks for gifting us the absolute masterclass, sheer entertainment and moments of pride, happiness, and tears of joy for 22 long years. Writing anything about you is any sports lovers dream and I had to wait for 2 years and 85 posts to write a few words in my capacity for you in my blog to actually fulfill that dream. In fact, I have chosen an occasion as trivial as your ton's ton because whenever I decided to write something about you, nothing came to my mind which was not already written, no adjectives were left to be associated with you, no quotes could better the ones that are already made famous by your commentators, team mates and bulk of your opponents , no inspiring facts and stories of you that are not already told by renowned column writers and top game critics as well."

Sachin, the above para I had drafted on 19th March just after you completed your ton's ton in the game of cricket and I couldn't finish the post. I just couldn't finish because I didn't know how to proceed, what to write, which words to use, and theme to accommodate. No matter how many attempts I made to praise, or even mention your achievements and your contributions, words fell short. Finally I gave up and egoistically tried to finish my blog post somehow by criticizing your then recent form, continuity, and some cooked up theme just in frustration but typing the first word in criticism reminded me of the likes of Caddick, Olonga, Akhtar, Warne, Kambli, Manjrekar, Gavaskar, Chappell personas and instantly I dropped the idea. An inevitable tight slap on the face with the bat from the maestro isn't a good idea after all, especially in retaliation of the words spoken or written against, and more so when we don't mean it but write it just for the sake of completion of the post, or in a vain attempt to distinguish oneself from the rest of the millions of Indians and cricket fans across the globe.

Today, you have retired from two out of three forms of cricket and I no more have this dilemma about what to write for you. Analyzing your records, better leave it to the statisticians (most of whom would put themselves ahead of Einstein to conclude how 30000 plus runs with centuries against all nations and most number of man of the match, man of the series awards don't contribute in team win !). Criticizing your feats, leave it to your critics (most of whom wouldn't even know how it feels physically and mentally to just stand for 10 minutes with pads and guards on and bat in hand, in front of a mirror, compare it then with 'batting' all over the ground for hours and hours in front of millions of online and offline viewers for just 23 years !). Commenting on your retirement timing and recent form, leave it to the experts (except Ganguly, Dravid...most of whom didn't even score more in their entire career than what you accomplished in mere 6 world cups and many of them had to be literally thrown out of their national teams). Being harsh on your off-field character, leave it to the hypocrites (who wouldn't blink an eye in producing false bills to save a couple hundreds in taxes year by year but wouldn't stop commenting on your Ferrari incident where you tried to legalize your saving, or those who blindly donate thousands in the temples in the hope that god will do something good to them in future, but would be cynical when you cash your hard work and god-like feats with endorsements).

There will be a huge list of the things which will be missed without you but today I have just decided to keep it personal. Your retirement means different things to different people, to me, it's just the memories... those which will not be missed because those will be cherished throughout our lives. During my times when kids used to have dolls and cars in their hands and mischievous innocent look in the eye, you had a bat, that damn real bat in the hand and an intent in your eye. Your curly, burly kid's pose with bat in hand and the legendary stance, in front of the black-n-white camera will be hard to erase from our memories. Your 'Salman'ish adjustments to the abdomen protector before taking the guard is immortal. Biting nails on all available fingers when your team is not doing well was quite some scene. That twist of the neck every time you step on to the ground to glance at the stand is still fresh in our minds. A 'humble to the core' mute acknowledgement that your eyes offer to the lord on your century milestone keeps our feet on the ground on our little successes in life. That sheepish close-up look on your face, every time a bowler bowls a bouncer which you duck (and of course the sheepish look bowler wears on his face the next such attempt on the bowler's part that you hit over the top of wicket keepers head). That finest paddle sweep which seems like your determination to assist the bowler in getting a boundary, the straight drive which is hit with the bat straighter than our hon. PM's face (that's some achievement), booming square cut, wristy flick, audacious hook, powerful back-foot punch towards mid-wicket, and the list just goes on. Did I miss the famous 'dance down the track and torment' shot which gave some legendary spinner sleepless nights?
Off the field of course there are a couple of things like your baby voice in the post match presentations, your comical presence in the endorsements, and that 'embarrassed kid' look on your face when you are called on stage during any awards functions or other social ceremony those we will always cherish but I am sorry your on-the-field moments wouldn't be possibly captured in any single blog post or even an entire magazine. I will still try to capture those scenes in my mind here in my post which, after so many years, are still fresh and alive.

Tell me how did you anticipate what Brandes' going to bowl next and hit him out of the park?

Caddick eats his own words and in style !

I was just as speechless in front of the TV set as Shoaib in front of you !

Olonga..who?? Don't remember him !! (shortly after the world said he's the future of pace bowling !)

and then there's Warnie !!

first ever batsman to score a double in the history of ODI...and deserving so..

and last but not the least, this !!

The moment.... world cup glory..and not just a participant or a mute spectator on the bench... second highest run scorer amassing 482 (mere 18 runs behind no.1) in the series...!!!

I have searched and searched a lot for other such moments in my mind like you hitting Kasprowicz, Streak, Tuffnell, Donald, Fleming, McGrath and Akram but didn't get the exact ones in my mind on youtube... not that I need them though... as these memories are never meant to fade... just as alive as they were at the time of their occurrence and enough for us to cherish throughout our lives once you leave the platform...

Thank you for all the entertainment and platter of excellence you have offered to us for the past 23 years. Take a bow master. All the very best for your future endeavors. At the time when most are sad for the part that an era has ended, I am happy and very wishful that a new era has probably begun...we would definitely love to hear that baby voice in the commentary box, or the passion in the blood for cricket being imparted in the youngsters as a coach, or even just the glimpse of a proud father reliving moments when his son Arjun takes the center stage in a distant future not so ahead of us !!!

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