I am a huge fan of Sachin, ‘huge fan’ is a small word, he is my idol and I look upto him for everything in life.
I have literally stopped watching ball-to-ball cricket after he retired, wasn’t even bothered to follow World Cup.
What could be the reason for such a love for Sachin? I thought a lot.
Is it because he dominated all international bowlers? He instilled fear in opposition bowlers?
I think not.
There have been more destructive batters before and after Sachin who have dominated all kind of bowlers. No that’s not it.
May be because he scored more centuries than anyone else?
I started to think about the centuries he scored, the fast ones, the furious ones, the under-pressure ones.
My first Sachin’s innings was that amazing desert storm innings of Sachin in Sharjah. Who can forget the spanking Australians got in Sharjah anyway? But even better than Sharjah was his batting in South Africa in 96/97. Many centuries flashed in front of me, 175, 186, 154, 136, 200
But there are some innings which are equally good by other batsmen. And probably Virat Kohli or Hashim Amla may go on to break that record.
This can’t be it. Just because one cricketer scores little more than other can not be the reason.
Still lost in thoughts to figure out why I love Sachin, I began to think about thought Sachin’s overall career and his behavior on and off the field. It has been absolutely spotless. He was, is a perfect gentlemen with record of zero controversies. This definitely is something that makes me respect Sachin even more but so were Rahul Dravid, Anil Kumble, Laxman as gentlemen as one could be and away from controversies.
This alone can’t be the reason why I love Sachin.
Couldn’t think of the exact and precise reason, I finally stopped to think, and decided to watch Sachin’s batting videos on YouTube.
In one of the videos, Sachin hit a Straight drive, Zip..Such a beautiful shot, bat coming straight down from a high back-lift, left elbow going high, no follow-through to speak of and the ball racing to the boundary in no time.There are many cricketers who play this shot down the ground, but the way this man played it with his dead straight bat and his foot moving to the pitch of the ball to keep it grounded, was simply a delight to watch. The shot looked so elegant as if it was a patent one from the master.
Then followed the paddle sweeps against Shane Warne which gave him nightmares, saw his cover drive, upper cuts, late cuts, square cuts. Each of his shot was exquisite, perfectly crafted, god sent.
That’s when it struck me. Its not the statistics, not the amount of run, not the world domination he represents, or the goody goody image off the field. Its all about the beauty of the shots that he played, its the grace and style of the shots that gives me the most joy. The smooth balanced body movement. The beautiful positive action of the bat and the sweet sound of ball hitting the middle and racing past the stupefied fielders.
This is the major reason why I loved Sachin, and cricket didn’t remain same after he retired, because there is hardly anyone who could play all of them as gracefully as Sachin did. There was nothing forced about any of his shots. It was such a joy to watch him bat.
The straight drive was the best of them all.
After all what is cricket all about? If it was just about winning the game or losing the game, we all could have watched the last ball to know who won or lost, but it’s about how the game is played and no one but Sachin was the master of the game.
He couldn’t have been a better captain like Dhoni or Dada, or couldn’t have been a technician like Dravid, an awesome fielder like the younger ones. But no one of these or anyone to come in future can do like Sachin did.
Happy 42nd Birthday Sachin Tendulkar, miss you, miss cricket.