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My Sachin Tendulkar Story

Introduction to You

I was just 8 years old when you were battling Wasim, Waqar, Imran and company with a bleeding nose in 1989.  It was only since the 1992 World Cup that I started to understand and follow cricket. I was initially attracted to the English team, Jhonty Rhodes’ dismissal of Inzamam and Ajay Jadeja’s catch of Allan Border, but my uncles used to hype about you.

But it was the 1994 NewZealand innings that actually made a long lasting impression on me and made me follow you religiously. I still remember, it was our school annual day and we had to go early to rehearse a drama and a bhangra dance number. All we got there was about 1 hour discussion on your innings. It was from then on that you became part of my life.

Sharjah, early 1990s: Your firm defensive push off a Wasim Akram delively bounces off the pitch and goes straight over his head for four. That shot still continues to amaze me but I cannot find that on YouTube now.

Glorious Years (1994-early 2000s)

Those were the years when the team's fortunes hinged largely on your performance. It was always between India's Sachin Tendulkar Vs the opposition. 


It was the 1996 world cup and my X class exams. It was prestigious to score big in board exams those days. I was down when your innings against Australia and Sri Lanka went in vain, though felt happy that you scored runs. I was completely gutted by the semi-final debacle, and couldn’t write my science exam properly. Yet I was happy that you were the top run scorer of the series.

The 1998 Sharjah Sandstorm:  It was your best phase and I still remember calling friends numerous times for the updates as our locality had a long power cut. Though wasn’t able to watch the epic match live, I must have watched it numerous times on YouTube and TV.

It is after the 1998 Sharjah innings that I decided that if I had a boy child I would name him Sachin.

2003 World Cup vs Pakistan

You were reminiscent of the 1998 vintage Tendulkar on that Shivratri ODI. Our friends didn’t move an inch from our places while you were batting.  We went back to our homes as soon as you got out. It was only after Dravid and Yuvraj got India past 220 that I started watching it again. Then, it was a long wait for the next day newspapers to read how they had described your innings.

Watching You Live

I was in the stadium cheering you during the two memorable ODI innings of 186* and 175, two IPL matches, and a test match, where it was limited to a practice session. Watching those two breath-taking innings was something I would never forget. During the IPL matches, the whole stadium would support you and once you were gone, Mumbai Indians would become an alien team. Quite an experience it was!

Proud that I too cheered Sachiiiiiiiiiiiin Sachin!

Why Only You Matter

I worship movie actors, watch their movies on the first day and debate about them even now. But I know they are completely different people off-screen, involved in politics, chasing records and live in a surreal world like most of us. But you were real. Your game was a true reflection of your personality. 

You did not skip practice sessions, come late to team events or to the toss, remove your shirt or tamper the ball, indulge in fixing, ditch your wife or have multiple affairs, and the list goes on.

Most of the critics do not understand (and still continue to mindlessly debate) that it was your passion for the game that made you play such a long innings but not the desire for money or records.

You never hesitated to play second fiddle to youngsters and in fact played a fatherly role. It’s very tough not to get carried away when someone like Sehwag is batting at the other end. But you ran runs for him and ensured that others played freely. You know how to bat with a Dravid and a Sehwag. A perfect man to be in the team!

2011 World Cup

During the 2011 world cup, I prayed for the Indian victory primarily for you as others had age on their side to play the next world cup. I didn’t do that in 2003 as I thought India, especially with you in tremendous form, had the momentum to beat Australia. But we went on to lose it miserably.

This time I didn’t want to take any chance and hence resorted to votive offering. I did 108 rounds (Parikramas) in the local Hanuman mandir after India’s win against Pakistan in the semi-final. I planned a similar activity for the finals as well. But with 32-2 and target to achieve being 275, I increased the number to 4 (4 installments of 108 rounds @ 1time per week).  I switched off the tv and went out to roam on the streets listening to the roars coming out of houses. Mission accomplished and you have a world cup victory.

Naming My Son

I named my son Agasthya Sachin Mylavarapu in January 2012. I had to cut Sai Baba’s name to accommodate yours and to fulfill the superstition of having 8 names. It didn’t go well with my wife’s brother, but I never cared about it.

Complaints

While you reserved your best for the prime bowlers, it was very frustrating and insulting whenever you got out to fringe bowlers. May be it is to do with your tendency to respect every cricketer that worked against you. Would have loved had you battered Fannie De Villers as you did Henry Olanga in Sharjah, and Pakistan’s Saeed Ajmal. Otherwise no complaints on your fabulous career. 

Retirement

I reduced following cricket after the 2011 world cup to get used to seeing cricket without you. But, started following you more and more since the day you announced your ODI retirement for the fear of not seeing you again. Hence watched the IPL, which I wanted you to win, then the Champions League and ofcourse the Ranji match vs Haryana which you went on to win it for your team. I keenly followed it on Cricinfo and watched some strokes on the Internet as you made it bigger than India vs Australia ODI matches that were going on.

FINAL TEST

On the first day of the 200th test, I was at my friend’s place as both of us were on leave that day. We watched your innings on Day 1 and were truly blown away by the cover drive you played and of course Sunil Gavaskar’s beautiful description of the aesthetics. I couldn’t sleep well on that night as you would resume your innings the next day.  I even tweeted “Reason to live another day. Sachin will resume his innings tomorrow. Got up early and was ready to watch you bat again for the last time, given the opposition’s ability. I was confident of a century as soon as you reached 50 but 74 was not a bad score either.

And finally, as always, I switched off the television as soon as you got out and disappeared into the dressing room and never bothered to check the final score that day nor the presentation the day after.   

Million thanks to the BCCI for arranging a fitting farewell. I didn’t watch it live as I knew I would become emotional. Watched the full coverage the next day but the end result was same.

You have left the cricketing world on a high with a lot of memories and footages, which I regularly watch.

Thanks and good bye the greatest batsman and a wonderful cricketer!

PS: Please bear with the typos or any grammatical mistakes in this piece as it was written pretty quickly and not proofread.



1 comments:

True follower!


Bienvenido!


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