People often wonder why I address this man as GOD. He has given me many reasons to do so – and today was another one of them.
I almost cursed Dhoni for the first time in my life when he did not give Sachin strike in the 49th over and then threw kisses when he did not push Sachin for the 2nd run at 49.2 overs! Thank god for that.
For someone who took 79 matches and 5 years to get his first hundred in ODIs, Sachin has never looked back! 46 centuries in ODIs accompanied by 47 in tests – I expect he will get to another 100; that of his international centuries this year at the rate he is going. He has 5 this year already – 4 in tests and 1 in the ODIs.
He has got tantalisingly close to the coveted mark 186* against NZ in 1999 and then twice in the last year: 163* against NZ when he retired hurt and 175 against Aus.
Today he was all the class, elegance and timing we associate with the beauty of batting. He did not thrash the bowlers – he just belted them gently. Such was his powerful timing that he kept playing the cat and mouse game with the fielders. Till the ball hit the ropes the fielder was given hope that he could stop it, he would chase all the way only to be exhausted and find the ball smiling at the boundary ropes. Sunil Gavaskar has always claimed he loves such shots – the ones that tease the fielder. Sachin played them plenty today
Square cut, cheeky third man fours, cover drive, on-drive, shots through mid-wicket and off the square! There was not an area he left uncovered. The bowlers bowled a good line yet he placed the ball where he wanted to. Sachin played like he is 17 today when he is approaching 37.
The energy, the exuberance, the hunger amazes me – I’ve just entered my 30s and I often feel totally phased out! The guy is a perfect role model. And despite all the madness, the money, the crazy fans – the man remains unfazed. He remains his simple self, the Marathi Mulga from Sahitya Sahwas in Bandra. His middle-class Maharashtrian roots still strong. His commitment and dedication unparalleled. The more you speak of him , the less it is.
I feel blessed – to have been born in his era, to have witnessed this phenomenon – to have watched him play since his debut in 1989 till date. So many moments, so many smiles.
Today the commentators kept harping about SA having chased 434 in 2006. I did not need them to remind me of it – I had seen the match live. Often these TV commentators lose sight of important things. I would not have cared if SA would’ve chased down 402 today – all that I cared about was that no batsmen on their side got to 200. Today, India’s victory was not important – Sachin’s record was. Period. I was being selfish and it was well justified – cause Sach is indeed GOD and Sach is indeed our life!
P.S: My Kodak Moment of the Day was : Virat and Raina taking a bow to the GOD from the dressing room – they will need all his blessings if they wish to emulate half his deeds in the future.