Sachin the virtuoso Tendulkar

This post was long due, a tribute to the man, who still gets me in frenzy about cricket. More than 100 times he has composed the lyrics, sang the tune with his rhythmic flow of bat and provided the spectacle unmatched and unparalleled in its beauty in any sports arena. The swift movement of legs and a gentle glance towards the on-side, those down the track moves and a nonchalant bottom hand lift of the bat, the ball flying over the bowler’s head and the bowler looking back in awe, wondering how to respond to this genius, with a quiet return to his bowling mark or a well deserved bow of head.

He has woven magic over and again. On mention of his name, my heart has swelled with pride, never needed a reason or an occasion, every day, in and out for the past two decades simply because he is an Indian. He has been a figure constant in the ever evolving world, he has been a name associated with my life since my year of birth. 1989. Yes, the year when this humble fan was born, fortunately sharing it with the debut of the figure that would in coming years be revered as God.

When I think about cricket for last 21 years, and cricket has been my first love in sports forever, not a moment, not a picture comes to my mind which is not shared by the genius. A punch in the air after each of the five wickets against the mighty Australians in Cochin or the blizzard of two centuries that he brought to get India, the Sharjah cup in 1998, these are not mere calendar events. These are emotions that bring you the nostalgia of the time when a man would jump and make you jump with him. For whom the country of a billion hearts pray together, the man can’t be just a sportsperson. He is a phenomenon to have inscribed in three generation of Indian life. One lucky person happens to be me.

The 200* in ODI was not just a stats for record book. It was an experience of life time. The whispers among friends in classes to update with the score, those unexplained exclamations and jubilations which caught the teacher’s attention, and then the sudden rush to watch it happening, on the television. This feeling followed by a search of the nearest TV set, those friendly pushes in the crowd to be able to get a glance of the 21 inch screen and in it the giant figure of a tiny man. To bear the heat and crowd, yet cheering out loud with every gesture of the man, and those profuse use of obscenities if any opposition fielder as much as looked back to the genius in his eyes.

Win or loss will never matter after sometime, no one would bother if we were in the finals of the 2003 world cup, but the memories which will last with me are those blatant strokes of indignity that sent many bowlers wondering if they really deserved the shame. That enterprising pull against Andrew Caddick, which sent the leather way past the ground, those upper cuts and drives against the speedster Shoaib Akhtar which ruined his reputation. Those more than 600 runs in that world cup fest, each and every one of those will stay in memory, for those are not mere statistics, those are the experiences attached with this sport.

The legend has not stopped, the story has only reached its climax, and the end has just begun. Only if someone could defy the mortality of human body, this man deserves to get that grace. Not for the sports, not for his team, but for the billions, whose hearts throb and miss a beat with every ups and downs of this man’s fantasy world and with every win and his defeat. A salute to the mammoth that is Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar, who was born to play a humble sport of bat and ball and take it to the ranks of divine, in the country where religion and caste are the basic fundamentals of his identity.

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