I am sure we all know who Mr. India is when it comes to cricket. Sachin Tendulkar, who I think deserves the Mr. Cricket title more than Mike Hussey, is the cricketer I am talking about. Is anyone in the cricketing world talking about another player, today? Sachin Tendulkar will, probably be walking out for the last time, in coloured clothing in a few hours from now. For many fans of Tendulkar, this is the end of a book of memories filled with many wonderful contributions, mainly with the bat, but also as a bowler.
My first memories of Sachin in coloured clothing are from the 1991-92 B&H series in Australia, just before the World Cup. Ironically, it was as a bowler that Sachin impressed me in that series. I am sure many ardent Tendulkar and cricket fans remember the tied match between West Indies and India during that series. [see the clip of highlights below]*
In a nutshell, the match captures the essence of Sachin Tendulkar – Mr. India, to most cricket fans. Azharuddin, the captain, tossed the ball to Tendulkar with one wicket remaining and all his front-line bowlers finishing up their quota of the overs. Tendulkar did what he has always done since he started playing for India – do his job with purpose and dedication. In edge-of-the-seat action, Sachin got Cummins to nick one to slips where Azharuddin took a great catch to usher the match into the Cricket Hall of Fame.
Tendulkar has given cricket fans many more memories, mostly in the ODIs – the father of the Twenty-Twenty format. One hopes he will add one more memory to that already flowing book of memories. If he does, it will go a long way in getting himself and his other Indian team, Mumbai Indians a shot at the title. Should this be Tendulkar’s last match in the shorter formats, there is a wonderful coincidence that he plays his last match on a day which is quite important in India – Gandhi Jayanthi [Gandhi’s Birthday]. Let no one accuse the Gods of not having a sense of timing.
In an ideal world, Sachin Tendulkar will turn the clock back and launch a scorching attack on the Perth Scorchers. Cricket will be richer, should that come to pass. Tendulkar’s performance should not, however, detract cricket fans from acknowledging the man’s Bradmenesque achievements in the shorter formats. He is such a colossus in the shorter version that one should use Tendulkaresque when referring to achievements in the shorter format.
As Sachin finishes up his career in coloured clothing, let me take this opportunity to thank him for all the precious memories and even more valuable inspiration that he has provided to hundreds of millions of fans. Like many of the cricket lovers, I will be hoping for Tendulkar magic, one more time. I truly hope Justin Langer and his team don’t have a Eric Hollies in their team.
*Trivia About the Perth Match:
- India scored only 2 boundaries – both by Ravi Shastri!
- West Indies did little better, scoring 5 boundaries and a six, but only 2 boundaries by frontline batsmen. Lara and Hooper scored 1 each.
- Cummins got Tendulkar’s wicket and Tendulkar paid it back with that epic ball.