During a World Cup, this man learns that his father is no more. He comes back home for the funeral rites; only to be chided by his mother because he did so. “You were playing for the country. Who asked you to come back?” He returns the next day and in the match that follows scores an unbeaten one hundred and forty.
I could have introduced him by his records which is an object of envy for every player in the world; I could have narrated one of his many amazing batting displays; I could have told you that he is the only contemporary cricketer in Sir Don Bradman’s all time dream team; I could have counted out the various trophies that he has received; I could have told you that he is Sachin Tendulkar.
And yet, I chose to introduce him in a rather unconventional way because that is precisely what he has meant to the game of cricket beyond his talent and his records – the spirit of a perfect sportsperson – passion, commitment, discipline and a never ending urge to perform.
His cricketing abilities need no words to be described. Over the years he has always let his bat to do the talking. A perfect gentleman on the field, he conducts himself with an exemplary attitude. A cool demeanor and a disarming smile – and you can easily take him for a rather gentle player of the game. Not so when he welds his willow. Ask the best bowlers of their worst nightmare and you would realize the king of devastating effect that he can have on his opposition. A British Newspaper had this to say on his batting prowess “Commit all your crimes when Sachin is batting, because even God is not looking any where else then.”
On his day, he can murder any bowling attack, ruin the statistics of the best bowlers in the business and make the entire opposition run for cover. And he has been doing this for many years at a trot now. And he has been doing this without the slightest of arrogance for many years at trot now.
Over a span of sixteen years that Sachin has dominated the cricket world, he has earned as many fans off the field as he has earned on the field – people have fallen for his humility, sweet yet caring talks and that ever pleasing smile. His straight and simple persona has influenced even his worst critics and rivals in the professional world; which goes on to speak volumes about him as a person.
He is rich. He has been in media glare for most of his life. And yet, there is not a single controversy (the ones that haunt the rich and the famous) which is worth mentioning about this player. No wonder a British Newspaper called him ‘GOD’. As a person he is very much like his favorite shot on the ground – a Straight Drive!
With that kind of a personality and the charisma that he welds with his willow; he has wooed a nation of a billion cricket crazy people. In a country where cricket is religion and new stars are discovered everyday, it is unimaginable how this genius has managed to hold on to the attention that he had grabbed sixteen years ago as a young promising lad in the team. May be, that is the reason why he is a genius.
A single raised finger that proclaims Sachin out breaks a billion hearts in the country. A survey suggests that the Happiness Quotient of India is up by three percent when Sachin scores a century. Need I say more to justify that this man has swept all cricket lovers off their feet – and guess what he has been doing this for the last sixteen years without fail!
Cricket did exist before Sachin and will definitely do so beyond him. But Sachin will always be remembered as a phenomenon that happened to the game. With respect to cricket’s entire history, this Indian Batsman might just be a flick; but a flick good enough to mesmerize an entire nation and enthrall every lover of the game on his day. What is even more wonderful is that he does it equally well off the field also. Cricket, after all, is a gentleman’s game.