Happy 40th Birthday Little Master
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Happy 40th Birthday Little Master
requested by waveofeuphoria
When Sachin Tendulkar announced his retirement from the ODI format of the game, for a minute, the mind went blank. Then I said to myself that even he is human and this was expected now or later. After that, I started asking all my friends - what was your SACHIN moment? Each one gave their own version. Then, I started to recollect all his marvels, that I have seen, heard, followed and then, suddenly, it struck me. Nobody would ask nobody, from now, when an India ODI is going on, “SACHIN OUT-A??” (south-indian accented version for “is Sachin out?”)
According to the Hindu mythology, there were ten avatars of Lord Vishnu - each with a specific purpose. If ever he thought of an avatar to propel Cricket - the sport, then that avatar is SACHIN TENDULKAR. Hence, that famous phrase - Cricket is our religion. Sachin is our God!
I read this brilliant piece by Siddhartha (@sidvee on twitter). How we have grown watching Sachin Tendulkar and how we have been drenched in the raining runs, was articulated in the most poetic manner. He instilled some nostalgia in me and hence this rewinding post.
Let us go to World Cup 2011.
24 March 2011 - India vs Australia
I had to go to office. I could not watch a single ball in the Australia innings. Ricky Ponting made a very good hundred to give his team a chance to challenge the Indian batting line up. I was following the match on espncricinfo. Sachin Tendulkar was on song, going by the commentary feed. One of the comments on the feed was - Sachin entered into God Mode. I was very tentative. I couldn’t work any more. I started. I was now following things on mobile. He went past his fifty and what I see next is that he is out - caught keeper. The website hanged for a moment. My senses stopped working for a minute. I could not resist. I called my friend.
“SACHIN OUT-A???” I ask. He says no. I repeated “SACHIN OUT-A??” He said “aa aa OUT!” There was this irritating check by the umpire for a noball it seems. Boss! The umpire was playing with me there. You can’t ask Sachin to wait because you are asking everyone watching to wait as well, irrespective of what they are doing.
30 March 2011 - India vs Pakistan
The semi final. Big match. I and my friend were watching the match in a shopping mall. People were going bonkers. Sehwag was smashing Umar Gul as if he were an amateur. Sachin Tendulkar was calm and composed. I don’t remember exactly when, but all of a sudden, there was pin-drop silence. Sachin Tendulkar was adjudged out LBW to Saeed Ajmal. Oh my God! What have you done - this was what was quite evidently visible on every face in the hall. But wait! Sachin Tendulkar was not out! He, against all the hype around his reluctance to test UDRS’s usefulness, opted for it. It showed that the ball spun a mile and bounced decently high to negate the umpire’s decision. You would need a ton of cotton to stuff into your ears in case you wanted to escape the roar that followed. SACHIN OUT-A?? No, not out! He went on to make 85 crucial runs for us and even took the Man of the Match award.
Rewind to two World Cups ago.
1 March 2003 - India vs Pakistan
I was preparing for my 11th standard exams. There was no cable TV in my home. This was to keep me away from watching GOD bat - mind it!! So that I can concentrate on my studies. But, this was world cup. Opponent was Pakistan. There were no mobile phones. We had a radio in our house. The hindi commentary in a hurried fashion was fun. But the match was real tense. Pakistan posted a formidable total. I only heard the commentary twice, for about 10 minutes, during Pakistan’s innings, just to make sure I studied enough to make some time during our innings.
A few balls into our innings, the commentator said something like this - “Shoaib Akhtar ka yeh gend, aur yeh third man ke ore se chakka” (Shoaib Akhtar is bowling, and it is a six through third man). WTF! A six through third man? I did not have the chance to watch a replay. There was no youtube also. The commentator would not remind any thing about that shot. I was just swishing my arms imagining how Sachin would have hit that shot. The bad part was, Sachin Tendulkar was motoring on for a considerably long time and I had to go back to my books. And then, my mom screeches “SACHIN OUT!” I run out of my room. Ask her - “SACHIN OUT-A??” She says yes. There would be no replay to see how it happened. I only knew through the papers the next day that he was out caught to Shoaib Akhtar for 98. 98? I forgot India won and was completely depressed Sachin was out for 98.
Now let us go back further.
18 January 1998 - India vs Pakistan
That famous Dhaka final. I know, for almost everyone of us, the most defining moment of the match was Hrishikesh Kanitkar hitting the ball over mid-wicket for a four. As expected, this match takes special memory space.
I was studying for some exam. Some slip test, may be. 7th standard mathematics. Toss done. Pakistan to bat first. I took permission from Dad that I will not watch a single ball in Pakistan innings and will watch complete India innings. He obliged. I went into my room. 4 hours later, I returned. The target was a humongous 315. No team ever chased something that huge. I was already fascinated by records by then. Every second, I’d pray some how India achieve the target. Enter Sachin Tendulkar, with his able ally Saurav Ganguly. I remember Sachin Tendulkar smashing Azhar Mahmood to every corner of the ground. Sachin was in real GOD mode. 35 of 24. 7 fours. Enter Shahid Afridi in the 9th over itself. Sachin shashays down he track and smashes him straight for a six. I am on the edge of the chair. And then, from nowhere, he mishits and is caught. Me, bro and Dad yell “Oh no!” My mom runs out from the kitchen shocked and shouting “SACHIN OUT-A??”
22 April 1998 - India vs Australia
I finished my 7th standard exams. Was on a vacation. My mom’s sister’s place. Tha cable TV was not of a very good quality there. The sound was clear but not the image. It is still half okay, right? This was a match India can lose, but they have to make sure they get to a score which will confirm their final berth. I don’t remember exactly how much, but it was somewhere close to 240. Sachin Tendulkar walked into the famous Arab Stadium. Determined. Target set. Unwavered.
He saw his companions leaving the job to him. Wickets were being gifted. Sachin was pulling, driving, sometimes smashing. He was accompanied by VVS Laxman when the score read 138-4. What I remember later was just Tony Grieg bursting. “Biggieee… thats gone” “Huge hit that” “Oh thats a magnificent hit” - he was going ballistic on air. Such was Sachin’s dominance. Whenever the image was stable on TV, there was a moment of brilliance from Sachin. If ever there was something you can call Single-handedly done, take this innings. He got India over the line. India were through to the final. But, there was no stopping Sachin. He was driving India to an unbelievable victory.
He pulled a Fleming bouncer. I am not sure he nicked it. But he was sure. He walked. If I remember, Robinson was the umpire and even he was flummoxed. May be, Sachin thought he did what he had to, and there is no point standing there looking like a guilty winner. But those were 143 golden runs. I have treasured them, and I am sure you all have. Again, “SACHIN OUT-A??” Nobody knew, except him.
Now, fast forward to 2010.
24 February 2010 - India vs South Africa
Half past one in the afternoon. I was tentative. Not fully ready to go to office. Wanted to wait for the toss. India won the toss and chose to bat. I thought I will watch the powerplay overs and then go to office. What happened later was incredibly insane.
I was constantly on phone, talking to my fellow Sachin-tard, my friend, for the last five overs. Because, Sachin Tendulkar was batting in the 190s. Yes, you read that right. He was in the 190s.
Sachin Tendulkar became the first player to score a double century in ODI cricket history and this, he did when you thought he wouldn’t last 50 overs at 37. Some where through the innings, my manager called me and asked “SACHIN OUT-A??” Because, he knew that I will be in office only if Sachin was out. But, not that day.
I went to office after India innings, treated my team members to some yummy icecream. Not sure why, but I felt I had to treat them celebrating Sachin’s double ton.
I can go on like this for any number of innings. Nothing, let me repeat, Nothing is more beautiful in cricket than watching Sachin Tendulkar bat. His effortlessness, his poise, his elegance, his composure, his mastery - everything is just perfect when he is batting in full flow.
Sachin Tendulkar has done to the sport what noone else might even dream of doing. This, he has done with his sole and simple responsibility of scoring runs for India.
Tomorrow, I will not be surprised when someone comes to me during an India ODI asking me “SACHIN OUT-A??” because it is like an involuntary question. I would say “YES. He is OUT! Forever.” with a sad tone.
For everyone wondering why a big deal is made out of Sachin’s ODI retirement, or who Sachin Tendulkar is, this video does the job of spelling it out, very nicely.
A legend has retired.
Maybe, this is what the Mayans predicted :)
If Cricket is my religion, Sachin is my GOD <3
Never wanted this day to come. Never really thought about it; because what’s the point in even talking about the day an immortal will die? That can’t happen, right? Right? Or so I thought.
Or maybe, I was wrong. Maybe you are just human.
Maybe that’s what makes you all the more special. A mere mortal performing miracles is more inspiring any day than God making one.
I know it’s too much to ask for but I hope you will pull off incredible performances in the next few test matches you play.
Words fail me. I don’t even remember the last time I had such a lump in my throat.
Don’t even want to type bye.
Love and deepest respect,
Just another silly Indian who thinks cricket is all about you.
Lady Bradman, rather than Sir Donald as has been reported, was the one who remarked on the similarity between ‘The Little Master’ and ‘The Don’. It was assumed that she only meant in the way that they played cricket, but perhaps she saw more than we gave her credit.
Being exceptional invites great interest and scrutiny in the private life of an individual. In the case of these two intensely private men it complicated matters.
I have been lucky to see some of the most talented batsmen that the game has produced, and it is fair to say that they have all been different from your average player. In their own way, they were driven by something deep inside them that no other person understood.
The most gifted batsmen that I have seen are, in chronological order; Harvey, Sobers, Pollock, Walters, Barry Richards, Viv Richards, Tendulkar, Lara and Ponting. Each of them had the ability to dramatically alter the course of a game that differentiates them from other outstanding batsmen of their time.
I did not see Bradman bat, but I have seen the archival footage which suggests that he was in another class from his peers altogether. He was driven by something that no one, maybe not even he, fully understood.
It is hard to imagine that Tendulkar played Test cricket at the tender age of 16. That he played for 23 years is astonishing, because I believe everyone has a finite number of significant performances in them. To think that he has carried the hopes and expectations of more than a billion people each time he batted set him apart, even from Bradman.
He also played in many more countries and varied conditions than Bradman. Along the way, he compiled a batting record that may never be challenged. This can be credited to an awesome talent, a unique grounding and an ability to switch off from the distractions around him.
In the process, Sachin has caused thousands of parents in India to reconsider cricket as a legitimate career and has inspired tens of thousands of youngsters to excel at the game.
I had the privilege of working with Sachin closely for about two years. In that time, I saw a side of him that few people would have seen.
I saw the sublime artist with bat in hand, I saw the little boy that he once was, I saw his vulnerability and I saw a man that had to compartmentalise himself in a way that would have tested a lesser individual.
Being Sachin is not easy. The demands on his time are ridiculous and the privation of withdrawing from what went on around him must have been like torture. But rarely did I see him let his guard down.
On the times that I did are special memories.
Travelling with the Indian cricket team was like travelling with The Beatles. People lined the streets waving and shouting as the team bus drove by and crowds jostled at airports and hotels just to get a glimpse of the members of the band.
And, Sachin was the Indian team’s John Lennon! Everybody wanted a piece of him; a look, a touch, a photograph or an autograph.
Initially I was surprised that Sachin did not acknowledge these crowds. He preferred to sit in the bus with his headphones on, listening to his eclectic music compilation and looking straight ahead as though the crowd did not exist.
It took me some time to realise that this was an act of survival. Had he acknowledged even a small percentage of those who demanded something from him, he would have been mentally and physically exhausted by breakfast. He, therefore, chose the only path available.
One of the special times that have stuck in my memory was on the 2006 tour of Pakistan. I had noticed that, due to the unique nature of their life, the Indian players did not spend much time together off the field. They retreated into their own little world away from the ground; to remedy this, I decided to organise an opportunity for them to socialise.
In Faisalabad, we arranged a private dinner for the team and support staff at which Sachin decided to play bar tender. During the evening, he mixed drinks and delivered them to teammates and staff who were relaxing with food and music.
In those few hours, I saw Sachin unwind and play prankster. He took great delight in the outcomes. It was a touching moment because I glimpsed what the young Sachin might have been. I also sensed that this Sachin was not allowed out, very often.
My time with the Indian team provided many happy moments and some memorable experiences. This was certainly one of them.
In December 2005, we were in Chennai and I was in my room at the Taj after we had trained at Chepauk.
My phone rang and it was Sachin asking if he could come over and have a chat about his batting. I agreed and he came over immediately. We talked for a few hours during which he bared his soul in a manner that I believe was rare, for him. He showed a hint of vulnerability that I doubt many had seen as he asked about why batting got more difficult as one got older.
At the end of our discussion, he thanked me and as he was leaving, I commented on how difficult it must be for him to keep up with his many friends around India. I had seen people coming and going from his room over recent days, so I assumed that some of them were friends. He looked at me momentarily before saying, “Greg, you have more friends in India than I have.”
I got the shock of my life and at that moment I realised how tough it was being Sachin. Indian cricket may never see an individual with such an incredible combination of mental and physical skills.
When Sachin Tendulkar travelled to Pakistan to face one of the finest bowling attacks ever assembled in cricket, Michael Schumacher was yet to race a F1 car, Lance Armstrong had never been to the Tour de France, Diego Maradona was still the captain of a world champion Argentina team, Pete Sampras had never won a Grand Slam.
When Tendulkar embarked on a glorious career taming Imran and company, Roger Federer was a name unheard of; Lionel Messi was in his nappies, Usain Bolt was an unknown kid in the Jamaican backwaters. The Berlin Wall was still intact, USSR was one big, big country, Dr Manmohan Singh was yet to “open” the Nehruvian economy.
It seems while Time was having his toll on every individual on the face of this planet, he excused one man. Time stands frozen in front of Sachin Tendulkar. We have had champions, we have had legends, but we have never had another Sachin Tendulkar and we never will.”
This picture is truly worth a thousand words.
For years he stood alone, winning us matches in the face of every kind of problem that plagued the Indian team - from match fixing to playing alongside a bunch of subdued cricketers. If it wasn’t for him, we wouldn’t have made it past the quarter final against Pakistan in the 2011 World Cup.
I’m so glad the current Indian team has evolved, both in aggressive spirit and cricket quality, enough to take the onus of having to win matches single handed away from him. But some of us won’t forget how he, in Virat Kohli’s words, “carried the burden of the nation on his shoulders”, for 21 years.
Long live the King!
— BBC on Sachin Tendulkar (via unss)
Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar taking oath as a Rajya Sabha member.
Not many living souls get to read a book about themselves, having a title of ‘Legend’ written on it. Here is one. A true legend. Long Live Sachin. :-)
Published: Sunday, March 18, 2012, 8:23 IST
By Virat Kohli
Dear Sachin Paaji
You have a million fans and I am one of them. In fact, I started playing cricket because of you. Simply watching you play motivated me. I don’t know if you remember this but I first met you at Wankhede Stadium in 2007.
I was part of the Indian under-19 side and we were set to leave for New Zealand. Mr Lalchand Rajput was our coach and it was he who’d requested you to come and have a chat with us. I was barely 17 then and I must apologise that I — in fact, all my teammates — did not pay much attention to anything you said!
Well, we were simply in awe of you. The boys stood in a huddle and you were, literally and figuratively, the centre of attention.
You had told us about the conditions in New Zealand; you spoke about the bounce, the swing and how we need to tackle that. Your technical knowhow held me in good stead on that tour.
Ravindra Jadeja, Ajinkya Rahane, Piyush Chawla and Dhawal Kulkarni were also part of that team and each of them has either played for India or done well in the IPL.
People crave to shake hands with you, get your autographs, have a picture clicked and here I am so abundantly lucky to be sharing a dressing room with you. To get to know you personally has been a huge honour.
I have had a fairly good start to my international career and I want to thank you for helping me in every possible way. Paaji, I have never said this to you, but I actually connect with you very easily. I feel comfortable and reassured when I speak to you about my game and, invariably, you tell me what I am actually thinking! I consider it an honour to be on the same page with you.
It’s always a pleasure talking to you about the game. You know how frustrated I was after the first two Tests in Australia recently. I was batting on 40-odd in the third Test at Perth and you came up to me and said that I’d get a big hundred. I am sorry I disappointed you by getting out for 75, but I hope I pleased you by scoring my maiden Test hundred in the final match at the Adelaide Oval.
You have no idea how much that one statement from you motivated me. It was amazing; I started hitting the ball really well and I knew that if you thought I could get a hundred, then I was going to get it.
On Friday, you achieved something which no other cricketer can or will. Yes, I know the last one year was frustrating, but I admire you for the way you handled yourself during this tough phase.
I was at the other end when you missed out on the landmark in Mumbai. It would have been great had you got it there, but it’s fine. I know you were not desperate because that’s what you have told me: never think too much, just play your game.
We admire you for your patience. You never lost your cool throughout this period. You behaved so normally. You were, are and always be a team man first. I am honoured to be part of a historic day in cricket. You are my childhood hero and I am equally thrilled to be part of this celebration.
You had once told me during our 75-run stand during an ODI in Nagpur that I must follow my instincts. I am doing just that and the results are showing.