Growing up with a Genius- Sachin  

Posted by Praveen in , ,

Rewind. 18 years. Stop. That day, we got our first ever TV at home. Till that day, the word 'cricket' didn't mean much to me though I had visited the mecca of Indian cricket "Eden Gardens", as a toddler. My only other information on the game were the things which my father used to tell me, which honestly I found hard to comprehend. One of those days just after the TV became a part of the household, we saw a small program on cricket in the exciting and only one channel called doordarshan(yes, it was exciting then). They were talking about an immensely talented young cricketer and his latest exploits. I didn't understand much of what they told. But the smiling face of that youngster got imprinted somewhere deeply in my heart. Then after some days, one of my neighbours, a big guy who used to come to play with us told me a story. A story about a braveheart cricketer who as a 16 year old playing his first match against a team boasting of some fearsome fast bowlers. Sadly, he got hit many times on his body by the ruthless bowlers. At one point of time, he was bleeding too. But, he declined to be carried away in a stretcher and played some audacious shots. Though, he didn't score much, he had made his mark. After the story, I made him repeat the name of the guy many times to me as I was finding it hard to pronounce and remember that name. The name was, as you might have guessed, "Sachin Tendulkar". From that day, that name's been on my lips whenever I think of the game of cricket. No wonder, my favorite ad those days was the boost ad featuring old Kapil and a young Sachin saying "Boost is the secret of our energy".
Just like with A.R.Rahman's music, it was a case of growing up together. Those days, in school, there was no question about who the world's greatest cricketer was. We were all Sachin fans, so there were no fights in that regard. India didn't have frequent matches like we have today. So, we had to wait patiently for months at a time to see him play. And, there were no ways to see the overseas series. Thats when I first started touching the newspaper. As soon as I get it, its a frantic rush to the last page to see the cricket scoreboard. My eyes first went to the middle of the score board, where Sachin's name used to appear. Only then would I proceed to see the team score. It gave me immense pleasure whenever he had a good score. The hero-cup semifinal match against South Africa when he bowled the last over, with them needing 6 runs and he conceeded just 3 runs is still fresh in memory.The madness reached its heights during the 1996 world cup. The whole country was glued to the television. Though Jayasurya and his mates from the island won the cup, for Indians it was Sachin all the way till that horrible day at Eden Gardens. The Titan cup with him as captain is unforgettable. In the matches that India won, including the finals he made sizeable contributons with the bat. Though many others scored tons of runs, I never bothered. None of them gave me the sheer pleasure that this guy gave. His straight drives and cover drives were enough to make me jump up from my seat and scream. Whenever he failed, it was heartbreak. I would switch off the tv and would forget about the match. The images of him walking back always made me sad.
Talking of images, I had this hobby of keeping paper cuttings. There are 1000s of images of Sachin that I got from 'The Hindu', the local 'Mathrubhoomi' and 'The sportstar'. His shots, his ADs, his public appearances, everything were cut up and neatly stacked in my collection. Still, there were sometimes when I thought he's not that a good player as I expected. He's failing many times. There were some days when I just hated him. Thats when the year 1998 came. Sachin was everywhere. From decimating the Aussies, right from the tour match against Mumbai to the deserts of Sharjah, Sachin once and for all tore that elements of hate and doubt away from me. He kept me happy the whole year. I read and re-read the "I'll be going to bed having nightmares of Sachin just running down the wicket and belting me back over the head for six" comment by Shane Warne. Those 2 nights in Sharjah are worth adding to the 1001 Arabian nights for its sheer beauty. Then came 1999 world cup and tragedy struck. His father died. A world cup without Sachin was unimaginable. India lost the first 2 matches. Then he came back, placing his country first. And what a comback it was. A blistering 140 off 101 balls, coming from a man who's coming to terms with a tragedy in his life. They won some more matches. But sadly, this time also India didn't win the cup. We used to watch India's matches at a house near our school. I still remember watching his innings of 186 against New Zealand one whole morning and coming to class with a beaming face in the afternoon. Around this time, Sachin's classic cover drive made it to the cover of the TIME magazine.
Sachin kept going. Records kept tumbling. And we were treated to more innings of heavenly quality, most notably the 136 that he made against Pakistan at Chennai battling an injury. When the other batsmen fell like nine pins and India lost by 12 runs, he was blamed for not finishing th game. That was the start of the age of mindless Sachin bashers. They questioned everything from his commitment to his greatness. As a stupid poll in NDTV asked 2 days back , just before his 12000 runs in test cricket, "Is Sachin Playing for his records alone?". And close to 50% of those who voted said yes. Is this what we should give him for being a tireless warrior who put his everyting into the game for 2 decades? How can anyone forget what he has done to Indian cricket starved of brilliant players? We look into the filtered statistics which point out his failures and conveniently forget his victories which are larger in number. If he scores runs against minnows, its a sin. At the same time, we forget that he has scored the maximum against the invincible Aussies. He was ridiculed as an injury prone cricketer. 'Try playing international cricket for 20 years and come out unscatched. Then speak.' Thats what I've to say to these so-called learned critics who consider themselves to be the grandfathers of W.G.Grace.
In the 2003 World cup, India started off with a string of very bad losses. The fans back home were baying for the team's blood. Sachin appealed to the home fans to show a little patience and promised them that they will deliver the goods. From then on, we saw a different Sachin. Every bowling attack was torn apart as he went on to score 673 runs and win the player of the tournament. England's Caddick said-"Sachin's just like another batsman in the Indian team". Next match he saw this another batsman hitting him out of the park and scoring 36 off his 19 balls. That pull shot off Caddick which went out of the park is another unforgettable one. Then, the sublime innings against the Pakistanis. That was just perfection. Still, the failure in the finals saddened him. He had nothing much to do after the bowlers conceded 358 runs to the Aussies. The critics as usual quickly forgot those 673 runs which took India to the finals and tore him apart for the runs he didn't score in the finals.
Last week, I fulfilled the long cherished dream of watching him live,at Bangalore. I passionately joined in that earth shattering roar that always accompanies Sachin's arrival at the crease. Its a reception specially reserved for him, no other cricketer ever commanded that much fan frenzy. The 'Sachin Sachin' chants start from the time the 2nd Indian wicket falls to the time he faces the first ball. But sadly he failed in the first innings and my wish to watch him conquer the record was vanished. Yesterday, as he reached the pinnacle of world cricket by overtaking Lara's record and being the first person to score 12000 runs in test cricket, I was at office. I wanted to scream out loud, but the company policies don't allow me that. He is now the emperor of test and one day cricket with 12000 and 16000 runs respectively. In one days, no one is even near his record. Still, I saw stupid people arguing on Sachin's commitment to the team. What is enough for them, I dont know. What more do they need, God knows. I can't find a more perfect role model than him in Indian sports. If there's a human equivalent of 'down to earth', it is him. He's an example for everyone on how to carry success and brilliance on one's shoulders. Coming to on-field behaviour, there's no one better. The only guy to be given 'head before wicket' hasn't bothered to turn back or show dissent on even a single occaion when he was wrongly given out. He still lives the simple life of a family man and stays away from 'page 3'. He does a hell lot for charity but prefers to keep it all a secret rather than boast about it to the media.
The critics have been talking about his retirement for too long. And yesterday, they got a fitting reply. "People sometimes throw stones and you convert them into milestones"-Words from a softspoken man who always made his bat do the talking. I just have one more wish for Sachin-the 2011 world cup. I hope he retires only after that. But once he hangs up his boots, cricket won't be the same again, atleast for me. I may stop watching cricket regularly as I did with Formula 1 after Schumi's retirement. India will never find a replacement for this man, a man as charismatic, and such a genius as this. Like Federer, like Schumi, like Maradona, he's an once in a lifetime player. And we all are lucky to have lived in this times. To all those criticize him mindlessly, we, the billions of Sachin fans around the world, are doing just fine without you. You can 'think' whatever you like, because nobody cares what 'you' think. Go, Sachin GO. The world is at your feet.
-with love, an ardent fan of 18 years

your crusader Praveen

This entry was posted on Sunday, October 19, 2008 at Sunday, October 19, 2008 and is filed under , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


Wow! What an achievement! Truly a world class player! And I must say, Sachin is really lucky to have such a wonderful and ardent fan as you! People will go on talking, irrespective of how much you do! In India, you get a lot of bouquets as well as brickbats, perhaps more of the latter! I remember the Hindi song here "Kuch toh log kahenge, logon ka kaam hai kehna..." It's better then, to shut out the world and be honest to yourself and your craft.


1:21 PM

Right on!! GO, Sachin, GO!!!

Great to read about him, in the way you have written... not just statistics, but the gut feel of a person who loves him, for all of those things that he has made himself endearing and inspiring.. to a generation he is part of, to one older, and ever more to the ones to come!!!

And finally it's that humility about him, in anything he does, says or is... that is the Ultimate Lesson we all can learn! Here is a man who will always, but always walk tall, not just in the world of cricket, but as a Human:)

1:45 PM

sachin rocks.. he is indeed the greatest of all.. goosebumps ... man..

3:07 PM

Sachin is one supremely talented individual. But there has been a huge Martha lobby ensuring he stays on even when totall out of form. Only lesser mortals like Ganguly seem to be chucked for non-performance. All that somehow rubs the sheen off real cricket and talent.

5:42 PM

The stones into milestones comment was the best ever I've heard from Sachin!...He is a true legend, and words fail me to write about this gem of a gentleman..

thanks for this article Praveen, raising the toast to the post and Sachin

6:07 PM

nice write about master sachin :)
god bless him and hope he makes many more records ahead.

been throught your blog from quite some u blog,am blog rolling u,yaar :)


6:27 PM

A phenomenon. Nothing more, nothing less. I am his fan and his critic...

I guess we have been lucky to see the likes of the Sachins, the Laras, the Sampras', the Federers... To each, his refulgence.

I just hope Sachin retires on a high. He has every right to... I don't want Kapil's fate to befall him. Though I do not think that will happen.

This is what what Rod Laver had to say of the Swiss Maestro- "that is too much talent inside one body!" It is ditto with our own li'l maestro.

Wonderful write-up bro'...


10:57 PM

he have even bigger fans than me:D
loved tht song line.

yes, he will walk tall..But some people just dont realise his worth

he gives me goosebumps every time he comes on crease

let me make one thing clear. he never was completely out of form. Just check his average year by year. You'll understand what am talking about. Its only that sometimes he didn't perform upto the level expected of him. Still, even at those times, his performance was better than many others. And his contribution to the team is not just runs, the team makes use of his cricketing brain too. also his mere presence is an inspiration for others to perform
What happnd with Ganguly is bad..thts 4 sure. Blame the selectors and some bloody politics for that

yeah..thts an insightful comment

am blogrolling you too

11:01 PM

You have said it all.Havent left anything for me to comment about him..let alone for u to post at his retirement:D

11:18 PM

@ Akshaya Kamalnath, this is one of the most ridiculous comments I've ever heard r/t Sachin in my life! Let me tell you one thing...Sachin doesnt need Maratha lobby and such fringe groups to help him hang on in the team. He is a sureity in any world XI from all generations, let alone the present Indian team. Sachin has a place in the Indian team and the fan's heart which no living soul can ever question.

And one simple question: when do you propose that Sachin was in such a bad form to be chucked out of the team? As a person who followed his career so closely I fail to recollet such a phase.

Let me tell you something else: You know what your Ganguly commented when Dhoni made himself unavailable to the Srilankan series? Read on... "I dont think Dhoni has become sch an inevitable part of the Indian team. Acc to me, Sachin is the only person who has a sure place in the team"...

Thanks for letting us all know how he managed

12:27 AM

I am a big fan of the tridev and I luv cricket very much...
and if u luv cricket then its reely not possible tat u don't like sachin..
I hav never seen him personally..but i luv his determination and love for cricket...

This is simply wonderful achievement..
Lara is no easy to defeat..
This is a cool post..luved it.

8:51 AM

I feel am lucky to see him grow as the best batsman in the world..i remember vividly the hero cup..and the loss in calcutta during the world cup..those times we were so pasionate about cricket...i dont think am anywhere near as passionate now!!

2:12 PM

Hey...I was there for the Bangalore test! I was there in C Stand! Too bad he hit that damn ball uppishly!

4:19 PM

me too a fan of the awesome foursome but Sachin comes first:D

yeah..Hero cup was one gr8 moment. calcutta, I stil remember the gloomy days that followed aftr the loss. Yes, the passion has reduced a bit now. Still, when Sachin plays, its back to the old times

:(was a gr8 disappointment

7:19 PM

man!!tht uppercut of his unleashed durin the aussie tour is my fav cricket shot des can only be played by a true genius like sachin.. HE IS GOD!! :)

12:13 PM

Saw these lines in Great Bong's blog:

It is strange this strong emotional connect we feel with sportsmen, a bond even stronger for those sportsmen you grew up with (for instance I do not think I will ever feel this kind of connection with Rohit Sharma or Suresh Raina simply because I evaluate them in a more “mature” way than I would do Dada or Sachin or as I used to Azhar). The ones for whom you put down your books, against your better judgment, the night before the exam. The ones for whom you stayed up all night, even knowing about the early train that needs catching. The ones whom you argued for (and against) with your friends over a cup of tea on rainy afternoons.

12:38 PM

yeah..its one of my fav shots too..thts y i put tht pic here:D

@Thomman this before..same is my case here:D

10:34 PM

sorry for the delay..
wanted to be the 1st person to comment on thhis great article about the great player and person.

My childhood was just like u..have been keenly following cricket and the great man for a long time now.

The impact he made in my mind as a player and a pesron is beyond words.

Really i dont have words to describe my all time hero..I never seen such a humble and simple star in my life..


This is the most ridiculous comment i have ever heard against sachin.I strongly believe these kinds of comments are always comes from those who does not follow the game.

Whenever he comes to bat my heart beats faster..I cant think about a day when my heart beats normally when India is playing..

All the best saching..Keep rocking for India


Thanks a lot for the wonderful post..

11:03 PM

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