A Big Salute to the Master

We will miss you Sachin
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We will miss you Sachin

The God of Cricket

I remember the days when they used to give bats free with Boost/ Milo and other health drinks. The first thing i would do is take off the sticker, take my red sketch and write MRF in bold on the bat. When i get down to the ground with the bat, I felt proud and confident. Not that i like the tyre company but whenever i think of Sachin, i remember the plastered bottom MRF bat that sends the ball rolling down between the umpire’s legs for a boundary. All those stickers that i collected and all those prayers for you to get back after your tennis elbow injury.

Countless memories of the stylish boundaries, that smile after taking occasional wickets, that bracelet on your right hand that dances in the air when you bowl those wonderful off cutters. Its all fresh in my memory. There is not just one reason to call you a legend. There were a lot of bowlers who were daunting to the opposition but not you. A bowler was rated based on how less you scored against him.

Seasons changed, years passed. We saw Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Shoaib Akhtar, Allan Donald, Glenn Mcgrath, Muralidharan, Shane Warne and lot of other top notch bowlers getting hit in all directions. And ofcourse the smile when someone picks up your wicket. Thats when i learnt to smile after getting out. I used to practice smiling like you before the mirror.

There are a lot of people who say its all over-rated, it is just a game and you are just another player who graced the game like other greats. But to be the game’s mascot for 24 years is no simple thing. Even the Olympics which has more than 100 games changes the mascot every time. But cricket had one – No – has one. We switch off the TV when you get out and then switch it on again after some time thinking how will India come back into the game.

Comparing you to God is logically correct as whenever you score a century you look up to God to thank him and when India needs to win the game, the nation looks up to you and you win it for the country and we are thankful. In all these 24 years, you haven’t endorsed a brand related to Tobacco or alcohol. That shows your contribution to the well being of the citizens of the country.

Some say its just a form of entertainment. No it isn’t, its a sport which is loved and played by billions of Indians because of one person. Movies are Entertainment. Not everyone gets to act on a day to day basis. But there were no evenings without taking the bat. The only reason India has got a lot of batting talent than bowling is solely because a lot of people chose bat over the ball because of you.

When the whole nation is watching you, there is a huge pressure to perform and every boundary brought a smile on our face and you scored not one but two but 100 centuries. You are the reason for atleast half of the players in the current team to take the bat.

When you were carried by your team mates around the ground, that pride on your face made our hearts warm and I actually felt i shared the happiness with you in bringing the world cup home after a long wait. That moment when you raised your bat today when you walked back to the stands and the cheer. I am sure all the ones in Wankhede would have shed a tear or two.

We have all grown up and a lot of things have changed since the time we were born. But one thing hasn’t – The hope that Sachin will win games for India and it will be a pleasure to watch you play.

We will miss you Sachin and we were lucky enough to watch you play.

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Tired of reading Sports Columns

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I have rarely seen him vent his feelings on the field. I am not a big fan of Dhoni but considering the lash by the media recently, here I am. There are a lot of reasons why i respect Dhoni as a cricketer and as a person who carries a billion hopes when he pads up every time. We need him to keep wickets for 50 odd overs, think of a strategy to take down the opponent also hit every ball out of the park. When he hit 183 and 148 he was certainly not under any pressure.

A trademark Indian Cricket fan always wants India to win every other match but when it turns out to be otherwise he switches the TV off and goes back to bed thinking when would India get back to winning ways. After two days, without any thought about the previous match he enjoys the next match. After all its just a game. But the media with its own dark ways to increase the circulation, takes on one man. Before seven years it was either Sachin or Ganguly. Now it is MSD. Their next target would be Virat for he has been at his fiery best recently and we are able to hear things like the next captain already.

After every victory , a punch in the air and he walks graciously towards the cameras to give credit to the team. No Indian captain would have gone with Joginder Sharma for the last over or opened the bowling with Ashwin. In a game of 20 – 20 where a player number 9 can hit 40 odd runs, ¬†anything can happen and its certainly not in the captain’s hands. But I am proud of the Indian fans who have come a long way from pelting at the players’ houses to patiently venting out on Facebook.

Another ploy that the media effectively uses is the question – Dada or Dhoni ? And then comments start pouring as to who is the best and why he is the greatest. I have a strong feeling that i have infuriated a Dada fan by now. And the media will be happily watching the number of hits soaring high and our guys comment so furiously like they have been questioned about something really sensitive. Noone remembers Kapil Dev who led a mediocre team against the formidable West Indies. If its not for the English lesson in the higher secondary, Indians would have forgotten Kapil by now.

Anything against the government may put the media personnel behind bars these days and so they have chosen their domain to attack . I am just waiting for the day when a cricketer hits back at the media pointing out their approach.

Before you EXPECT more from the captain you need to show some RESPECT.

The game

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I have been wondering about what is so special about this game because a billion hearts have a lovey dovey attitude when it comes to this game. The brand new TV sets contemplate on how the oblivious audience had suddenly turned sincere spectators whenever this game is tuned on to.

I am sure you guessed it right.Every child born in India knows the rules of the game like the palm of their hands.There has always been a exemplary business when it comes to cricket bats and balls.The advantages of this game is it can be played in a hallway, on a terrace,on a pier,in the garden and when you grow up you move ahead to the grounds nearby.All that you need are the bat and the ball- man’s greatest sport inventions of all time.

Even the Barmy army shows an extra passion when it comes to cricket. Even if India loses you have a feeling deep inside your heart for the team and our team knows that you are there to back them up. All your comments in facebook are meaningless when you stand still and watch the natwest series final’s highlights honorably waiting for the dhadha’s act.

Take a ground nearby and you will witness ten matches being played at the same time. The batsmen have a tough time identifying the voids in the cricket.A bowler waits for the other bowler who has just bowled and crosses past the same pitch and bowls to his batsman.They have no problems sharing the same pitch or ground because they are united by the spirit of Cricket. The only game which demands a person to bowl, bat ,keep wickets,field and be a bye runner on the same day.The day usually starts and ends with cricket when its a holiday.

Though it is said that the British were the first to play cricket we can proudly say that we were the ones who came up with the most interesting version of the game.One pitch catch game. No batsman lasts more than ten deliveries.A zero in the college becomes a hero when he hits the winning runs for the college team.

Maybe in the years to come the government will include the columns like Batting style and Bowling style in the documents like passport application or something.No team in the world gets such a reception when they come back after winning the series and on the other hand  when they lose in all glory they pelt stones at the houses but faithfully buy tickets for the next series.

T20 cricket has been a nightmare to two people – Lalit Modi, the architect of IPL and Stuart Broad for obvious reasons. Only a few people know Freddie was the cause of Yuvi’s charge.

The success of IPL lies when you see Bhajji and Malinga hugging after Malinga’s blows at the death and when Murali and Dhoni share a joke on field.You actually have this feel good feeling that lasts until the players play against each other in international arena.

I would fail in my duties if I publish this post without using the magical name ” Sachin Tendulkar”. No matter where he plays and who are the audience you never hear the crowd roaring when he gets out. Thats the respect he deserves and he always will. Nothing boosts you more than watching sachin coming down the pitch and hit Warne down the ground for a six with a smile that hurts the bowler more than the ball hit out of the park.

There are a lot of ways in which a book can become a best seller.One good way is to pen down something crazy about Sachin. No wonder Akhtar knew it after all the leather hunt in previous encounters.