Saturday 19 May 2007

Standing ovation and all that

Fittingly, it was Arun Lal on the microphone when Sachin Tendulkar pushed for a single on his way to 36th test hundred. Despite his trademark staid and drab voice, Arun Lal tried best to conjure up some excitement.

“WITH THIS SINGLE TENDULKAR COMPLETES HIS 36TH CENTURY, HIS SECOND AGAINST BANGLADESH. IT WAS AN INNINGS OF GREAT…. patience.”

When was the last time they used “Superlatives” to describe a Sachin Tendulkar test hundred? Don’t try; it will set you back by atleast three years, even more.

Tendulkar returned the compliment. He did an Arun Lal, by playing his first and the only attacking shot of an otherwise sedate, but now customary, innings. What a shame, that the very shot he was once a master playing at, and which he seldom plays these days, brought about his downfall.

I had the fortune of watching live, two of Sachin’s most memorable knocks - both first class hundreds - and both path breaking ones. First was when Sachin scored his debut century in Ranji Trophy against Gujarat. I have faint memories of this Ranji knock, but more vivid ones of the next century, nay a double century, he scored ten years later, against Mark Taylor’s Australian side at the Brabourne stadium in 1998. I remember Bombay opener Amit Pagnis - on Tendulkar’s advice - playing lofted shots against Australian bowlers, only to be followed by the master tearing apart the Aussie bowling. (I left the stadium immediately after Bombay declared their innings and rushed to Shivaji Park to attend the Sena supremo Bal Thackeray’s public meeting).

In ten years between these two knocks and further four years after the double ton, every test hundred from Sachin elicited a standing ovation from yours truly. Over the last few years though, the response has been more muted, sometimes even of disappointment. Blame it on the lofty standards set by the man himself.

I know Sachin’s centuries are coming few and far in between. We need to cherish each one of them. In next few months, India will be touring England followed by Australia later this year. I hope Sachin gives us a glimpse of some of the knocks he played at Old Trafford and Perth in his hey days.

Knocks that made him special, knocks that made us stand in appreciation of the Little Champion.

6 comments:

simple cricket said...

What we need is cruel cricket played just for winning....

Cricket Guru said...

and your point being?

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