Thank you and good bye Sachin!

Thank you and good bye Sachin!

Watching cricket matches played down under is quite special. Unlike Indian grounds they have lush green grass outfield neatly trimmed to give various shapes which gives exotic look. A weird thing about watching live telecast from there means we need to get up at 0300 in the morning. It was during one of those early mornings while watching a one day match in 1994 I saw a small boy who was representing Indian team. He was Sachin Tendulkar. He got injured in the field and was carried by another squad member Vivek Razdan. This is my earliest recollection of watching Sachin Tendulkar in a cricket match.

10dulkar
10dulkar

I was an ardent fan of Kapil Dev during those days. But Sachin became one of my favourites immediately after watching him playing during the second One Day Internationals (ODI) of that same series. He opened the innings (for the first time since Navjoti Singh Sidhu was injured) and smashed all the fast bowlers. I clearly remember Chris Pringle had no clue about what was happening while he was bowling to Sachin who had already hit him for 3 consecutive boundaries in an over. Ken Rutherford, the then captain of NZL team had to walk from mid-on to have a word with him on how to bowl. But that barely had any affect, Sachin was on full flow on that day. He scored 82 runs (15 fours and 2 sixes) in just 49 deliveries. Mind you this happened in 1994, there were no Powerplays then.

In 1998, during my masters, I was staying in my collage hostel. Watching television in the hostel was allowed only on special occasions such as cricket matches or on Sunday evenings movies after getting prior permission from the hostel warden. Cricket matches when India played were like festive occasions for us. Watching cricket match along with friends, that too in a hostel set up, was always fun. Only if you have experienced it, would you understand this. Cricket fans who have watched matches in 1998 will not forget the tournaments India played at Sharjah.

No one will forget the famous match against Australia when India needed to score 254 to qualify for the final. We were all watching this match in our hostel. Wickets were falling at regular intervals and the chances of reaching that target looked very feeble. Then, a dust storm disturbed the match proceeding further. Sachin was there in the crease but most of the hostel inmates had lost hope and got back to their respective rooms. After about half an hour or so few guys watching the match cheered and shouted and called everyone in their rooms back to watch the match. Then the crowd gathered to see Sachin demolishing the Australian fast bowlers and score a century. It was the most unbelievable match that I have ever seen. We lost the match but Sachin got us through to the final. He did not stop there. He scored another ton in the final against the same opponent and got us a trophy. In the same year we had another unforgettable scene in the history of ODI. In the league match Hendry Olanga of Zimbabwe dismissed Sachin with a bouncing delivery. But in the next match Sachin showed him how good he is. Hendry Olanga will never forget this in his life (I am certain). Oh you poor thing! Not just Hendry Olanga, we relished the battled between Sachin and many great bowlers such as Shane Warne, Glen McGrath, Shoaib Aktar (who can forget that sixer in world cup 2003), Brett Lee, Muttiah Muralitharan, Wasim Akram and many more.

My affair with cricket and Sachin continued. Once I was walking in the streets of fort area in Bombay in 2002. It was a Sunday and a match was going on. By the side of the road a portable TV was placed and surrounded by cricket fans. While passing I causually peeped between the heads to check the score. Few minute later another passer by stopped and asked score kithna? Someone replied. He continued asking Sachin kithna? O 90 mein out ho gaya was the reply. He didn’t bother to stay there any longer and neither did I. We (Sachin fans), never bothered whether India won the match or not. We just wanted Sachin to score well or hit a ton or to rip apart the (supposed to be) great bowlers’ spells. For many of us Kapil Dev’s  175* was the best for ODIs until Sachin scored 200* and this will certainly remain forever. We didn’t really care even when this record was broken.

We never want him to get out. We did our parts (verging on superstition) so that he did not get out. Once I had 6 helpings of sambar sadam continuously to keep him going (in the earlier match when I choose Rasam sadam instead of Sambar he had got out early). My friend wouldn’t move from where he was sitting. He would not even let others move. Once he had moved and Sachin had really got out. This was during a test match at Chennai against Pakistan. We lost that match. My friend still thinks that it was mainly because he got up from the chair.

It is sad that he exit ODIs unceremoniously. But incidentally while I was watching that last ODI he played I was fiddling with my camera and took couple of shots of the TV screen when he appeared. He scored 50 in that match. But I never thought that that was going to be his last ODI. None of us had.

Sachin's Last ODI
Sachin’s Last ODI

I stopped watching ODIs after that. I am sure many of us did. I didn’t even feel like watching his last test match innings or his farewell speech. In recent times everything is shared on the net. Photos, videos and interviews or even we can buy disks of the whole cricket matches. So many television channels are going to telecast these matches again and again. You can see these things anytime you want.

The thrill of remembering a moment is missing now a days. I can be proud that I have seen Sachin playing great innings on that day and I still remember it. It is in my memory not just in photos and videos. Sachin Tendulkar. We will miss you. Thank you for the memories and Good bye!

2 Replies to “Thank you and good bye Sachin!”

  1. I am glad you wrote this Jegan. However, I wish you had watched his farewell. I did. If you had been there, I would have learnt a little more about this legend.

  2. I totally agree about the superstitions. When we were kids my brother would not let me move or talk or even breathe sometimes because me talking will get India out!

    My memory of cricket is when a player gets out in the first ball… They will show a cartoon duck walking out… I used to love those….

    I remember Sunil Gavaskar scoring century in some match and retiring! And then later years match fixing…

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