VVS goes. And Sachin comes in.
And pardon me for this stream-of-consciousness post… that’s the best i can manage now…
He comes in. Small man. Strong gait. Confident in his abilities, poised to his responsibilities, and comfortable in his achievements. Like we have seen him for almost all our lives.
It is indeed amazing that for almost all my life as a cricket follower, Sachin has been performing for the country, and it has taken me this long to warm up to him.
As I have mentioned so many times earlier, for a serious sports-lover, it is almost impossible to have a devoted Sachin-following mindset, he seems almost unreal.
Okay, sorry, I was speaking for myself here, I guess.
Tiger, Federer and Sachin. And of course Jordan, Pete and Steffi a generation back. Zizou. These are the immortals. They never fail. They never falter. They are not human.
They had honed the almost unbelievable talent that has been bestowed upon them, with their own bit of hard graft. The monument of their performance has as much to do with blood and sweat, as with the gifts they had been born with.
They are perfect in their conduct in the field, they are perfect in their interaction to the media, and they are far away from controversy (or nearly so). They are noticed for their performances, and never for their extra-curricular activities, so as to say.
They are easy to respect, and difficult to love. Almost impossible to love, unless you are just a glory hound.
The cocky braggadocio of Pietersen and Kobe and the Williams sisters, even Djokovic in recent times; the sturdy determination of Border, Tomas Muster, Dravid and Lendl; the relative under-achievement of Barkley, Becker, Els and Ballack (and Azhar); the devil-may-care rabble rousing of Jimmy Connors and Ganguly; the genuine niceness and friendliness (as opposed to professional distance) of Shaq and Cesc and Adam Gilchrist; the precocious talent and almost performing-without-trying of Lara and McEnroe and Wasim; the passion of Nadal and Warne and Diego… these give in much more easily to fan-following…
It took a retirement from Graf for me to be a fan, it took a headbutt from Zidane for me to be his fan. Jordan never failed, and I could never be his fan. It took a sudden streak of vulnerability from Pete for me to be his fan…. and so has it been with Sachin.
Sachin, in the last two-three years, has been a pleasure to watch. His powers on the wane, his performance hasn’t. Hard graft, patience and sudden glimpses of flair have been the hallmarks of the recent Sachin. And tell me, the missed hundreds of the last year, haven’t they been exhilarating? And then the throwing up of the bat, reaching a hundred after long last, didn’t you jump off the seat at that moment, sharing the joy with him?