Revisiting April 2, 2011: A day for India and for our beloved SACHIN
It’s a day which won’t be forgotten. At least not by people like myself, who grew up in the nineties when Indian cricket team was nothing more than a single name that reverberated with the heart beat of every Indian.
In the nineteen nineties, when me and my friends in India were beginning to come in terms with a sport named ‘Cricket’, Indian cricket was witnessing the emergence of a youngster who would eventually become the soul of the country. It is hard to imagine any kid growing up in India in the nineties and not registering the Hero Cup semifinal last over or the famous India versus Australia matches at Sharjah in his memorabilia.
Those were different times. It was a one man show back then. If HE was in, hopes were alive; if HE was out, all hopes lost. We watched in awe how HE would carry the responsibility of an entire team in his shoulders, only to be let down by his team mates time and again. But the genius of the man, kept him sprite for years to follow in anticipation of a better future and perhaps justice to his career. Contemporary legends came and went. But none could match the tenacity and charisma of this Master who as someone said was “sent by God to play cricket and go back!”
The new millennium saw a different Indian captain and a different Indian team; a team that started believing that they could win. They almost made it to the trophy in the World Cup 2003 only to lose in the finals. Perhaps some of us thought that it was over for HIM; or HE was doomed to be always remembered as a player who never played in a world champion side. Some of us gave up hopes to see HIM perform yet again with grace after our early exit from the World Cup 2007. Some of us foresaw HIS retirement after injuries that bugged him at this age. Some us thought, he only played for personal records and statistics and not for the team
But justice awaited! At the age of 38 plus, when one can say that HE is old, slower and may be looks a little less young than the nineties, HE is perhaps playing the best cricket of his life and is the backbone of a vibrant young Indian team. And on April 2nd 2011, MS Dhoni and his young brigade pulled off a victory that will be engraved in the memories of a billion people for years to come. A victory that ensured SACHIN TENDULKAR wore the Indian cap as a member of a World Cup winning team. History couldn’t have been written better for our little master. Tears ran down the eyes of each one of us as we looked at the TV screen watching the final moments of this great event while HIS teammates carried HIM on their shoulders during the victory lap.
As time moves on and we encounter more victories or defeats in the game, our memories of this historic event will fade away. But what will keep inspiring is the story of the success, the story of perseverance and the story of an Indian player who gave us a reason to be proud of as a nation. We don’t need to celebrate this day all the time. But when the chips are down we can always remember the story and get back to business.