( Over past few weeks many people have expressed their Tribute to Sachin Tendulkar in many ways. As a tribute to him from my side, I would be penning short stories/moments over next five days describing how I grew up idolizing sachin and his influence in my life at crucial times. I am sure many of you had similar such stories you might have enjoyed while watching Sachin Tendulkar in action in past 25 years. I hope you will enjoy reading these and rejoice your moments of/with Sachin who is playing his ultimate Test match today.)
I was 6 years old. On a sunday evening, my uncle was watching a cricket match, not sure whether it was a test match or ODI. At that time I had no idea about cricket. Sachin had only completed 3 years of international cricket, but was yet to blossom. All I remember was that I asked my Uncle ‘ Is Kapil Dev still playing in the match?” that was all my knowledge about cricket.
City Life & Cricket: 4 years later: After moving from a village to Bangalore for my schooling. I started to hear a lot of cricket noise around me and no wonder as it was the world cup season. Every morning before the classes commenced, my classmates used to gather around and discuss about yesterdays match. Me with poor english speaking skills, I was kind of being shy to enter the discussion as I was low in confidence to speak, and to speak about the topic which I had no idea. I realized only way to make some friends was to learn about cricket. It sounds trivial, but challenging as none of family members were, understandably so, supportive to watching or playing sports. They would think of it as a mere waste of time. Adding to that there was no access to cable television to watch matches, and only source of knowing cricket are through newspapers, and Doordarshan ( which only telecast a couple of hours of a match 😦 ). [The world was so clean then without Gadgests and Internet 🙂 ]
Fortunately, we were allowed to watch chase of 1996 WC India vs Pakistan Quarter final, due to the added pressure of neighbors talking about them and add to the fact that the match was played in Bangalore. Doordarshan did telecast the match. At that time I know nothing about cricket & its rules and I can only remember two things about the whole match. Name of the Bowler V Prasad which turned out to be my cousin’s name too (simple thing but something we cheered seeing his name on the screen :)) and a burst of crackers at every street in a non-Diwali season, as India won the match.
From the following day I started reading newspaper, well only the sports column, looking out for scores, number of 4s and 6s and read through some match stats before I left home towards school in the morning, so that I have some content to speak about in our pre-class meeting :). This is 1996-98 phase and No wonders, the topic was ‘Sachin Tendulkar’ more often than not, as at this time he was at his peak and truly was a Legend in Making. Since, i only saw cricketers in newspapers, it was hard to remember their face, names initially, but picked it up by following the game much closely than ever-before.
First Full view of Tendulkar Innings: Waiting for my tuition to get over and finally when it happened I ran quickly to my Brother’s clinic, where a television set was placed in his clinic’s waiting room and cricket Match was turned on to keep the waiting patients occupied. First glimpse of Tendulkar, with India’s score at 11/0, just had my heart pounding after a close call for the wicket. Never experience this before, but it is the sign when you have started building love towards the game. I had to quickly figure out how to watch the full run chase. With clinic being closed at 8pm and with no cable television at my aunt’s house, means I had to find my way to my elder aunt’s house on pretext of studying. My aunt slept early as usual, in her bedroom and lucky for me my uncle was interested in watching the match. It was the first time I watched the whole innings with no interruptions, not from the Tv Ads, but from some one else pulling me from watching it. This match was memorable as Sachin Tendulkar was at his best hitting boundaries & sixes and made a blistering 124 in partnership with Ganguly who made 85 to take India to victory without losing any wickets
I questioned to myself, Is this real? Is this how India plays cricket? Are they the strong team out there? I had no clue about the other teams, players, their strengths and weakness. I was wondering a team winning by 10 wickets should be some kind of a record, and moreover I had fallen in love with the little master’s delightful and commanding style of batting. He possessed that extra spark which am sure can attract anybody in this world
Little then I had knew about the opposite team. Moreover, I had no clue whatsoever that Sachin was taking on Henry Olonga, which was termed as a revenge to his celebrations in the previous match after he got tendulkar out cheaply and went on to take 4 wickets in the match to bring victory to his side. This was the final of Sharjah Cup – 1998 against Zimbabwe
With this, I will take a day break and Leave you to enjoy this one of the best Sachin moment, for one more time.
Next up in the Series: Bug had bitten