I don’t know or even am interested in knowing what others feel about Sachin… I just look at a man who has played for a team (if someone has problems with using the word ‘nation’) which never was short of great batsmen in any given era for twenty four years.
A team so competitive, you can not ‘carry’ someone for that long. When Sehwag came, all were saying this is the guy to break all batting records and now this prolific hitter warms the benches for even an IPL super over.
Andrew Strauss started scoring tons at phenomenal pace and died down in two years. Lara, one of the greats of the game, could never be as consistent as he should have been. Ponting, certainly Australia’s most prolific modern era batsman couldn’t go on for long. Dravid, Ganguly, Laxman… all retired. Sachin is on as if on a Luminous UPS. Only guy who has a similar passion in modern cricket is Jaques Kallis.
A nation where people start asking for head when India loses one match, Sachin has seen tennis elbow, dark days, purple patches, whitewashes, brownwashes, cramps, dehydrations, tons, double tons, farewell ovations, first farewell ovations, second farewell ovations, 50 overs, 20 overs, 450 overs… And is still going good. That speaks how much he loves the game and how much people love him.
He doesn’t transfer money to millions of people who are happy with him despite his apparent failures. He has achieved so much that a 30 by the second best batsman will be applauded but his 50 won’t as he is supposed to score a 100!
He has raised our expectations of him. He has been raising his own expectations of himself. Players have born, debuted, played well and retired or forced out but he is still running with same vigour that he had in 1989.
Naysayers and haters of number one in any sport are a psychologically ill people. It is not that they are unaware of the statistics or even the game but they hate Sachin as they hate Federer or Schumacher. So, I really don’t get bothered of them.
From an era of closed economy when Indians were just a nation which was ‘oriental’, ‘spiritual destination’, a la Zimbabwe, to the elevated status of being the number one in ODIs, Tests and even Twenty20 with world cups in both possible formats and convincingly the best team in the classic format, Sachin has been the visible and noticeable fulcrum of not only the Indian cricket team but the cricket crazy Indian nation itself.
Those who say he is selfish should go and read some of the interviews from anyone about Sachin and they would be enlighten themselves by knowing that he is said to be the greatest team man. And what do you mean by selfish? Does his runs, at slow pace or fast, not get included in the team score? Or hasn’t it been for almost a decade that this man has scored runs and took the team to the bright shining glory of victory only to see five batsmen failing to score 16 runs and so on?
Those who think Sachin’s centuries result in defeats must check the stats from ICC or Cricinfo as they are as greatly mistaken as calling tomatoes an ingredient of a suspension bridge.
He is so perfect in our imagination that even if we spend a thousand bucks to see him bat in a stadium and he just scores a four, we are convinced that it was value for money.
I had to wait for all these 24 years to see him walk in Whites in to a stadium. My farmer father was never that rich or cricket fan to carry me in his lap to a stadium. But when I, along with my dear friend Sanidhya, saw him enter the Kotla ground in Delhi (after repeated chants of ‘Kohli go back’) and heard that roaring welcome, I just wanted to store all those sounds in my body.
Such is the love for him and such is the frenzy. And let me tell you, it is not ‘emotional’. It is not that emotion for that old dog of yours who you think will die and starts caring more. No. Sachin is beyond age. He is beyond anatomical logic.
Sachin’s batting is as fluid as Sachin Dev Burman’s compositions (the man after whom he was named). His game is a beautifully flowing poetry. Had Coleridge been alive, he would changed the definition of poetry, “Poetry is akin to spontaneous flow of strokes from Sachin’s bat.” He would have said, “Poetry should be as natural as strokes are to Sachin.”
So many years, so many runs, so much of joy, so much of passion, so less of unsachinic failures and so much of success is what makes him what he is.
Sachin is not a name. Sachin is a phenomenon. He is the sweetheart of gays, lesbians and heterosexuals alike. He seduces you with his cover drive. He gives a flying kiss with the six over point. The soft boundary between the gap with three players chasing and falling just seven inches short again and again is like a long passionate kiss on lips.
I am just one of the millions of his lovers who can ditch his super hot girlfriend in a room with no one around (and no sex in months) and her subtle hints, “make love to me” by saying “what a stroke, you should see this!”