I used to follow cricket more regularly and passionately then. Sachin, Rahul, Saurav were our heroes. At times, to romanticize the picture, the three maestros along with Sehwag and Kumble were often termed as ‘Pandavas‘. Logically, if we ever believed that Karna was a Pandav too by birth, then let’s just add Laxman’s name into that list to make that count correct. Anyhow Laxman deserves that place. Indeed they all were pillars of Indian Cricket Team. Unofficially Cricket was national game of the country at that time and our childhood ended officially when one by one, all these legends hanged their boots.
Cricket was then more a sport than Entertainment…
What was so special about these cricketers ? Was it just Talent ? … Passion ? Commitment ? They had it all and more importantly they loved and enjoyed this sport. There were no shortcuts. May be that’s what helped them to remain focused.
Rahul Sharad Dravid.. as simple as that name sounds ! Perhaps the best of all the gentlemen who ever played Cricket. Most of us wished to be the next Sachin. And the moment we realized we didn’t have that god gift we understood Dravid’s greatness.
It was all about hardwork and dedication. Every time I saw sweat dripping down his forehead it evoked a hope. He stood strong when everything else fell apart and battled it hard in cuts and drives with pure Dravidian Elegance !
“If Tendulkar’s life is about enthusiasm, Dravid’s is about determination. If Tendulkar is the child splashing colour about with glee, Dravid is the scientist in a relentless search for progress. Tendulkar might have been a Formula One driver or a striker in a goalmouth, Dravid would have been an Olympic shooter.”
– Harsha Bhogle
Well that covers it all. Isn’t it ?
The Master Blaster
For me it all started with 1996 world cup. Little ‘Tendalya‘ had already been talk of the town then. (Well.. that town was actually representing more than 15 odd countries). Those were the Doordarshan days. If you are from the same generation then probably you also had your first Tendulkar moment in that Wills World Cup.
In that world cup whole world witnessed Wonder Boy turning into a Master. And by Sharjah 1998 almost every cricket Pandit was short of adjectives and superlatives to describe this Genius. A boy who was named after a legend composer (Sachin Dev Barman who composed many masterpieces) himself became a legend !
We were growing with him in our own gully cricket. We tried to copy that nod after hitting a cover drive. We all held our pose in follow-through in same Tendulkar manner after playing a straight drive. We all tried to imitate him. Yes that’s what we could ! May be that’s how we adored him..
A Tendulkar century brought the entire nation together and he heaped up tons after ton. He outclassed Warnes, Lees, Akhtars & many other. An uppercut crossing over that boundary line helped us to forget all our worries. A leg glance or paddle sweep managed to convince us – Life is not that difficult after all. At times mere his presence on that 22 yard pitch exposed the superstitious side of many cricket lovers.
We chanted his name loudly or more often deep in our minds and he gave us back what mattered most.. the joy which is gonna last forever !
Tendulkar taught us how to cherish a god gift. On the other side (even in today’s world) Dravid personified Bhagvad Gita verse “Karmanye vadhikaraste Ma Phaleshu Kadachana..”
Ganguly, Sehwag showed that attitude does make a difference and with talent it could be a deadly combination. Laxman showed us how to make it count and prove oneself when it matters most. Kumble taught us hard work eventually pays off but show has to go on.. on and on..
A tribute to all these legends who brightened and enriched our lives..
– Atul Sarpotdar