Just Chatting with Life

Monday, April 03, 2006

The Story of a Cricket Fan - part 1

It is difficult for me to remember when i began to live cricket. I guess it must be around 1989 when i saw Sanjay Manjrekar score a wonderful century against a Pakistan team which boasted of the likes of Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Abdul Qadir . The matches were televised by our beloved DD National and I have some faint recollections of watching the match then . My interest ebbed and flowed until the Historic South African Tour of India in 1991. I watched spell-bound as Ravi Shastri and Sanjay Manjrekar scored wonderful Centuries at Nehru Stadium in Delhi only
to be defeated by a superlative effort by the young (?) South Africans . I was young then, only 9 years of age , and like every young kid , looking for heroes around me. When i first saw the boy with the curly mop score a breathtaking century against Autralia in Perth 1992 , i knew i had found my idol . Sachin Tendulkar, for me, defined cricket and everything associated with him . Matches began and ended with him. I used to sulk in a corner when he got out and no amount of coaxing from my Mom or Dad would get me talking. The World Cup of 1992 was disastourous for India, but it didnt matter me as Sachin Played some stellar innings that only provided a glimpse of what was to come. The match against Pakistan in WC92 also marked the first time i missed school to watch Cricket.

I tried to have a haircut like Sachin , but that was doomed for failure on my straight as an arrow hair. I tried to model my stance according to Tendulkar. I tried to hit the lofted shot as Sachin hit them. Of course by that time he
didn't play much of the startight drive that became his trademark later on . I even loved his voice . Believe it or not, I began to like Priya Tendulkar just because her surname conincided with the great man. I cried alone when he failed , and celebrated every shot of his. No match was over till Sachin was at the crease. I lived for his innings and the periods when India was not playing marked the dull days in my life.

I celebrated with Joy when Sachin Hit his first ODI Century against Srilanka. For bowlers around the world, that spelled doom . The great man had just found a way to become even greater . Maybe , even better than the Don Himself. By the time WC96, Tendulkar was not only India's main batsman but also the harbinger of millions of hopes. India didn't have a great record in that period, but it did not matter to me. Sachin was scoring Centuries and playing like only he can . This was the time for Sachin the Destroyer . He destroyed bowlers, demolishes teams, dismissed reputations, smiles disdainfully at Targets, created new records and took batting to new heights . The period from 1996-2001 marked his best years with the bat. He scored runs at will and played some innings which i can never forget . An unbeleivable counter-attacking century against South Africa in 1997 was to end up in a losing cause . An epic 136 against Pakistan in 1998-99 would rank as one of the alltime best Test innings. An innings which was played through tremendous physical pain . Those marauding centuries against Australia in Sharjah 1998 must rank as the
alltime great ODI innings, with the latter one played in a surreal atmosphere in Sharjah . Sachin was god in those two innings. His best innings was not the century he scored in the finals , but the innings before that which got India into the finals . His self-belief was so high that after making sure that India got into the finals , he went after a seemingly improbable target . I believe he would have taken India home, had the innigns not been cut short by a horrendous umpriring decision . The two sixes that he hit of Miachel Kasprowicz are as fresh in my mind as if the match was played yesterday . I dont think i have ever been happier after watching a cricket match as i was then. Even now i feel my hair rising when i think of those innings .

Unforunately , this period was marked by his infamous captaincy stint. I do not believe that Sachin was a bad captain. He never got the team he wanted . And yet he perfomed brilliantly even when under pressure of being Indian Captain . His passion for his country shone through . I cried alongwith him when India failed to chase down a paltry 114 at Barbados that marked the nadir of Sachin's Captaincy . He had to quit captaincy when things became too much. Even now, out of all Indian Captains, Sachin has the best batting record .

P.S. . End of part 1 . Rest will follow in part 2 :-) .

3 Comments:

  • Hey Rahul,
    i can undrstand ur excitement and ur passion for cricket..and very much evident ur respect for sachin...
    newaz,very well written..:)

    By Blogger Harry, at April 04, 2006 11:06 AM  

  • very nice :)

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