Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Legend of Sachin by Boria Majumdar

A resurgent Sachin Tendulkar continues to give India moments to rejoice. After all, he is the engine on which Team India runs.

He missed out at the world cup final. That faint edge of Lasith Malinga and the dream of a 100 hundreds at cricket’s biggest stage had turned into a non-starter. But with India victorious, Sachin Tendulkar did not even spare a thought for what could have been. He was candid and categoric in declaring it was the best moment of his life.

Immersed in the moment and knowing full well that the 100 centuries is just a statistic that will soon be ticked off, he moved on to captaining the Mumbai Indians in trying to achieve yet another unfulfilled dream, winning the IPL. And from what we have seen so far, the man looks to be on a mission.

Two out of three wins so far in the IPL, incredible personal form and a tremendous batting line-up to stand up for him, Mumbai definitely looks the favorite at the end of the first week of the IPL.

For Sachin personally, a 100 at IPL stage is yet another reminder how fit the man is. It was an important century given the context and the near full crowd at the Wankhede. Some of the shots he played en-route can make their way to any cricket-coaching video. For example, he played the helicopter shot better than MS Dhoni, the upar cut better than Virender Sehwag and the straight drive in a way only he can play.

Leading the race for the Orange Cap for the second consecutive year, Sachin Tendulkar continues to make a statement to every cricketer of this generation - to achieve your dream be prepared to go that extra yard and make the extra effort.

When I asked him this very question, i.e., how does one chase ones dream, he did not spare a second in giving me the answer: “Every human being has a dream. It all depends who is prepared to go that extra yard and how badly you want to chase your dream. Take that extra step whatever it takes and you will be nearer to your dream.”

While it is easier said than done, you can’t not feel inspired seeing the man in action day in and out, a routine we have loved to enjoy and savor for well over 21-plus years.

Once we take stock of the staggering nature of the man’s achievement, we can then put the sacrifices he has made in context. In a recent conversation he said to me, “At the start of the World Cup, Arjun was an inch shorter. He is now an inch taller. That’s what we are missing out on.” The statement, simple and straight, gives an insight into a side of Tendulkar we have hardly known.

In thanking Anjali and his family, he wasn’t doing his duty. Rather, he was lamenting what he, the family person, has missed out on in serving the nation. While we celebrate the legend of Sachin, it is important to remember the pain and the suffering the man has gone through and continues to go through in giving millions of Indians pride and joy.

I shudder to think of the day Sachin Tendulkar will call it quits. For him personally, it will be the most difficult decision he has ever taken for he knows nothing else in life but playing cricket. All he has done in life is served India by wielding the willow to the best of his ability.

And for the Indian cricket fans, it will be a day of mourning - a void that will, perhaps, never be fulfilled given the overwhelming nature of the man’s achievement.

Sachin Tendulkar not stepping out to bat in India colours will be a moment that we will all find extremely difficult to digest. More than anything else, our cricketing sensibilities for well over two decades have seen one constant - Sachin shouldering the burden of a billion.

It is for this reason alone that we need to celebrate the resurgence of Sachin even more. Given his current form, he can easily continue to entertain and enthrall for another couple of years. Then we can push him for a year or so more. The legend of Sachin is growing. Let’s just say long live the legend.

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