Statutory warning – If you were born post 1985-87, probably you shouldn’t be reading this.
What I am writting about is not about sachin the greatest batsman, sachin the sports ambassador, sachin the brand but it’s about sachin the generational hero.
What I am writing about I feel only people who are of Sachin’s age+/- 10 years can connect with. You should have grown with Sachin to have had that bond with him. You should have been at those moments, you should have seen those times of hopelessness, of anger of frustration, when sachin used to be the only hope. When he used to be the greatest entertainment & his batting used to be greatest national celebration.
You have to have been born just after emergency or just prior to it, you ought to have opened your eyes & heart to cricket with Kapil’s daredevils. You should have experienced humiliation at hands of wounded West Indian tigers who came to India after their world cup loss & what ensued was mayhem. You should have woken up at 4:30 am to get first glimpses of one day cricket in colored uniforms, white balls, space age transmission by australian channel 9 vs doordarshan’s stone age transmission with “Sorry for Interruption”. You should have wept at last ball sixer by Javed Miandad of Chetan Sharma.You should have driven in Ravi Shastri’s Audi, wondered if Gulam Parkar & Surinder Khanna will overtake David Boon & Geof Marsh as world’s greatest opening pair , should have seen Gulam Parkar’s fielding, should have seen teenage gals gush at Sadanand Vishwnath’s cuteness, the sheer athleticism & energy behind wicket & the spunk & arrogance in his batting. And then you would have seen all this talent just fizzle out leaving behind gutless, talentless cricketers representing India as if they are ashamed of being part of that team.
For many people who question sachin’s greatness this little column from 2000 might serve as reminder, from not so glorious days of Indian cricket. Sachin was there before Indian cricket achieved greatness. Sachin stood there when no one else did, sachin gave us those moments when we could hold our head high , when the only thing prabhakars, mongias, jadejas & azharuddins gave was shame. One can easily destroy attacks on sachin statistically, but at this juncture I don’t care whether others accept his greatness or not. I have moved beyond that , I have moved beyond making points & winning arguments. So has Sachin.
It surprised me that it took so long even to put few words about his retirement. For a long time it has been inevitable. But when it happened to many including myself, it was nothing short of catharsis. It’s almost as if Sachin’s retirement was that milestone which tells you where you are with respect to your own life.
While I am writing this, Kohli & Dhawan & Dhoni are destroying Australian attack. But I don’t feel like watching cricket anymore. For me personally cricket was born with Kapil & Sunny, it attained puberty with Azhar , blossomed in its youth with Sachin, matured into an adult with Dravid & is now dead. Yes I will still look at the scores on cricinfo, but I will no longer pray to god for a batsman not loosing his wicket, I will not bunk an important exam/meeting to watch a batsman’s inning, won’t rage furiously when someone criticizes that batsman unfairly. All that is gone. What is left is just cricket the multi million dollar industry, the circus of T20, the cricket with dieing breed called as ballers, its no more a game it’s just adulterated entertainment