Long hiatus, no explanations just that setting in to work and this city did take my time off from my writing! No promises to keep this going regularly but yes the world cup will get me writing more frequently than before!
The world cup begins today. Sadly the opening ceremony will be missed due to the unearthly timings of the telecast. My interest in the ODIs is going down day by day, thanks to the growing predictable and uneventful nature of the matches involved and the WC long format is not going to help my case either. However seeing the performance of the some of the teams in the last month I sure am not placing my bets on the winner right away. That could make up for another article!
So before I go onto preview matches and predict winners, here is the real reason for writing the article. In ’91 when I started watching cricket, taking serious interest in it, catching the old matches missed on all possible channels, I saw a whole lot of players emerge and become reckoning forces in the world of cricket. Seeing their amazing displays on the field, the thought of them ever quitting the game never struck my mind. It still does not, despite the fact being there right in front of my eyes, I just turn a blind eye to it.
They were players from my era! Having seen them play for the last fifteen years. I saw my friends have crushes on them, I remember making fun of them for not understanding their game, I remember having long debates and discussions with the guys over who is the better player and who was not playing upto his potential, discussing their awesome display of talent time and again.
They excited, they enthralled, they entertained, they charmed, they made me smile! The game will not be the same again. Yes it has been said before, new players have emerged and I’m not denying that better might emerge too, but these will always be special because they were one of the reason my cricket interest grew.
Tendulkar, Dravid, Ganguly, Kumble, Lara, Jayasurya, Inzy, McGrath, Pollock, Gilchrist, Fleming, Ponting. Cricket will not be the same again!
It still feels like only yesterday when:
I woke up in the wee hours of the morning to see young Sachin rock the NZ shores in ’94 blasting 84 of 49 balls when he opened first.
I saw Inzy being run-out by Rhodes in ’92 WC and kept wondering if he would ever create a World record for the same, but realising Pakistan had been blessed with a talent.
I saw a young man from the WI battle out with ease the Aussie attack and hit a masterpiece 277 to lead WI to victory. Lara won many a matches in the years to come single-handedly and I think he leads every great batmen of his era in this aspect!
I saw McGrath bowl super straight relentlessly time and again leading to the destruction of every batsmen who faced him
I was left zapped by the maddening batting display of Jayasurya in the ’96 WC who redefined opening batting in ODIs and made the cricket ball defy the laws of gravity.
I saw Gilchrist come at the top order and thrash bowlers all around the park
I saw Ponting take charge of Steve’s team and lead them to a dominating victory in the ’03 WC keeping the Aussie flag flying high.
I saw Kumble take the Golden 10 against Pakistan
I saw Ganguly dance down the wicket at Taunton and beat Kapil’s long standing record of highest ODI Score
I saw Dravid turn into a valuable ODI player in ’99 WC with his back to back hundreds only to end up as the best man in both matches
I saw Fleming’s shrewd captaincy lead NZ to an unforgettable victory agaisnt Aus from a no-win situation in the VB series 2001.
I saw Pollock carry his dad and uncle’s legacy ably on his shoulders.
There are many more memories of them to write about and I could go on and on. But before I end, here’s putting these blokes in a small perspective for the joy they brought this game. The next WC will surely miss:
Sachin’s Masterplay and Lara’s Faultless Display
Inzy’s Serenity and Fleming’s Solidity
Ponting’s Brashness and McGrath’s Relentlessness
Kumble’s Perseverance and Pollock’s Consistence
Gilchrist’s Bashing and Jayasurya’s Thrashing
Gagnuly’s Off-side Divinity and Dravid’s Austerity!
The next WC is not going to be the same. As much as I’m digesting the departure of the Waugh Brothers, Justin Langer, Warne and Martyn, the departure of these players as and when it comes is most dreaded!
So here is what I’m going to do, sit back and enjoy them as long as they last and hope this WC brings out the best in all of them!