( This is second part of the short series ‘’How I grew up with Sachin”. I am penning this as a Tribute from my side to the Little master whom I grew up idolizing him and he has been inspiration for me and billion people like me. Click Here to view the first part of the series )
Missed the Tendulkar v/s Warne: This is the 1998 phase where Tendulkar shifted his target towards Aussies and in particular Shane Warne. However, I felt the impact of that series only in recent times when I was watching through the archives in youtube. Since my major source of cricket news then was through newspapers, the words and numbers over there did not project the right picture of the force and power behind the Tendulkar assault on the aussies. I felt very lucky when I get a chance to view the cricket match on TV even for a few minutes. With many from the family restricting me from watching the game, it was impossible for me to watch Test match cricket whole day. On a Test match day while playing in India, i would eagerly wait to hear the final ring of the school bell and hoping that the play be extended. I would run as soon as i hear the bell ring and would run to home to reach in and around 7-10 minutes , which would have taken a 15 min walk, and all this to watch the final couple of overs of the day. However, I don’t remember a me tasting any success here :(.
During this phase there were lot of matches played against Pakistan in a tri-series at Sharjah. For me India looked me pretty in-consistent, where they do pretty decent in league but succumb to pressure later in the tournament especially against Pakistan. It was very disheartening to see those India Pakistan matches at Sharjah, where Pakistan had many six hitters and India barely had one or two. I felt the pressure of watching those matches, and more on a day of the match that went down the wire. Legs would start shiver, heartbeat rate double, may be all these are signs that indicate when you are deeply involved in the game.
One special thing that comes to my mind on how I followed LIVE matches during that time is the Motorala Pager. It was my Cricinfo then. My cousin had one for himself as he travels a lot and Mobile phones were at its baby steps. As part of their various scheme, they had introduced cricket alerts where they send out a message on every wicket, batsmen scoring 50 or so. I used to get hold of it whenever he came to our house, so that I could tack the score constantly.
My First Wold cup: Doordarshan has showered its blessing finally :), by telecasting India’s 1999 World cup matches LIVE. Well except that they take a break to deliver their daily news, no matter even if India was winning world cup :). This mean that I can watch the match without lying to my aunt as most of the India matches was on weekends. Also the world cup happened in May-June means the schools had just started, So we were let off to watch those matches without any restrictions. The match I remembered the most was against England, for couple of reasons, One the match was played on two days, due to rain on the match day which was continued to second day, and second, India had to win against England to qualify for super sixes, and they won in dramatic fashion on second day from no where.
I could only watch the India Pakistan Super Six match in Bits and pieces as we had a gathering at my sister’s house. India v/s Australia match, where do or die match to enter into Semi Finals, I was shattered to see Tendulkar falling out cheaply in his 4th ball during the run chase and rest of the match was mere formality. In fact most of the matches thereon looked the same and started to have that “Tendulkar OUT, End of the game for India” feeling. It was clear for me the about Australia’s dominance in world cricket at that moment. This world cup also helped me get some insight about the other teams strength and weakness. I loved the game overall and for the listened to radio commentary for the first time to keep up with the Australia- Pakistan WC finals, with me routing for Australia’s win 🙂
Where there is love, there exist pain: Out of the love for the game, I picked up a hobby of collecting photos by tearing the pictures from old magazines and newspapers and sticking them in a notebook and created collection of photographs. I had over 1000 photos of various cricketers and memorable match moments. In spite of keeping it safe from many people who wanted it to be thrown for various reasons, I lost the book and they were successful in taking it away from me:(. I regret even now for not guarding it with extra safety. I was so let down and disappointed.
This is also the phase where India lost many a times typically in a fashion where Tendulkar falling out cheaply and rest of the team following him like a pack of cards. The real embarrassment would come, when your mom or aunt asked you “Did India win?” “What did you get after watching the whole match?” “Did Sachin Score?”. Its makes even worse when you had watched the match after a lot of fight with mom or aunt, blocking their serials or disobeying their orders to study. I strongly tell them that Winning and losing is a part and parcel of the game, But my age shut them from listening it. All these things only meant that the ‘cricket’ bug had bitten me and it was so deepen that the result of the match had deep impact on my mood for next couple of days.
I would take a break for now and leave you with this special clip 1999 India-Australia World Cup Match. This 4-minute excerpt speaks volumes on Little Master’s Genius and his impact on Indian Cricket. Specifically, Tony Grieg’s reaction to Tendulkar getting out in first over by saying ‘Did India Lost the match’ should summarize it all.
Next Up in the series: And He Fades Away