Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A tribute to the GOD!

25th June 1983 – Perhaps the most significant moment in India’s cricket history. The historic significance of that day is known to everyone of us. It brought about a drastic change in the way the game is perceived in the nation, and it was the first real reason for cricket becoming a rage among the masses. But six years later, the 15th of November turned out to be a red-letter day for not just Indian cricket, but the whole world of cricket.

A tiny bloke, barely sixteen years of age, with full of curly hair, made his international debut in a Test against archrivals Pakistan at Karachi. None in their wildest dreams would have expected him to become what he is today. Since then, he has enraptured billions around the world with his ineffable strokeplay. He is a phenomenon. He is a god himself to many. He is the little master. He is Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar.

Sachin Tendulkar has been the most complete batsman of his time. His batting is a blend of perfect balance, immaculate technique and impeccable stroke-making. He is one person who is capable of bringing his whole nation to a standstill. When he enters the wicket, there arises an unprecedented silence full of prayers of a billion people, the TRP ratings of the TV channels soar to unimaginable levels, and the whole burden of a billion people rests on his small shoulders.

The Bloody Beginning:

In the final test of his maiden international series in Sialkot, he was hit on the nose by a bouncer, but he declined medical assistance and continued to bat even as he gushed blood from it. The pace trio of Imran, Wasim and Waqar dealt him with contempt, and tested him by dishing out innumerable blows to his body. The way in which Sachin handled them made everyone sit up and take note of the Mumbaikar. This tour showcased the underlying grit and determination that betrayed that tiny frame of his.

On the 16th of December 1989 at Peshawar, a legend was born. It was not in the original plan to include Sachin for the ODI leg of the tour, but he played since it was an unofficial match, and Kapil Dev was nursing a stiff neck. Eighteen deliveries changed everything. In that time he made an unbeaten 53, and in the process, tore apart Abdul Qadir for 27 runs in a single over, with three sixes in a row. The then captain, Kris Srikkanth, told referring to the one-day series, "The little bugger must play now." The little bugger has been playing ever since that day.

When Merv Hughes told Allan Border, “This little prick's going to get more runs than you, AB.” in Sachin’s first tour Down Under in 1991-92, fear showed up in the burly Australian’s words. Sachin’s ton at the fast and bouncy WACA track, is perhaps the best innings of his lifetime as told by the master himself. He has ever since remained an egregious thorn in their flesh indeed. His most memorable performances have come predominantly against Australia, the most dominant and feared team of his era. He holds almost every record in the book. He holds the record for the maximum number of Test and ODI runs and centuries. His records are monumental, and it is unlikely that his aggregate of 30000+ International runs will ever be surpassed.

He is renowned for his picture-perfect straight drive, often completed with no follow-through. Sir Donald Bradman, considered by many the greatest batsman of all time, considered Tendulkar to have a batting style similar to his. In his biography, it is stated that "Bradman was most taken by Tendulkar's technique, compactness and shot production, and had asked his wife to have a look at Tendulkar, having felt that Tendulkar played like him. Bradman's wife, Jessie, agreed that they did appear similar."

What makes this man so special and adorable? Well, everything about him. He is a perfect role model if you were ever looking for one. He has his head firmly on his shoulders in spite of all his towering achievements. The best part is that, he is still hungry for a lot more. Nothing means more to him than representing his country in what he does best – play cricket. For a person like him, no praise is ever enough. After twenty long years in the game, he still continues to live in a bubble unperturbed and unaffected by controversies and just lets his bat do the talking. Sometimes, all this makes you wonder – Is He Human?

"I have seen God. He bats at number 4 for India in Tests."- Mathew Hayden.