2005 : Where’ve you gone, Sachin, a nation turns its lonely eyes to youHarsha Apr 17th, 2016
Over the years I have watched Sachin Tendulkar play cricket many times. I have marvelled at his skill, admired his work ethic and been taken aback by the unwavering dignity that has accompanied him everywhere, often in the face of some provocation. But now, more than ever before, I find myself experiencing a craving for his batting. I want to watch him play cricket because I want to take my mind off this tenacious shroud that covers and darkens our cricket.
Indian cricket needs some cricket. That is not the most elegant of sentences but it conveys the mood of all of us cricket lovers quite appropriately, caught up as our game has been with intrigue, mistrust and greed.
Never before has cricket itself been such a distant number two in the matters of the BCCI. They need it, but don’t care too much for it; like with the law and some of those that dabble in politics.
And our cricket needs to give those long on imagination and short on facts a holiday as well. Recent events have only confirmed that old philosophy — never let the truth come in the way of a good story. And so the mind has run riot, every action dissected, conclusions found and, where they don’t exist, created.
The old lab principle of experiment, observation and only then inference, is too outdated, too boring. Everybody wants a new spin on events, old theories have been dusted and revived, cricket should be on Star Plus.
Negativity has been assiduously searched and presented, where it has been tough the BCCI has come to the rescue. The fresh wind that blows old thought away has been pushed back, the sunrise that washes away a dark, unhappy night has been shrouded by a fog of poor intent. There is no happiness in our cricket, the bat has suddenly become a piece of wood as a sitar might in the hands of an uncaring baggage handler.
We need to get back to the truth and we need the joy back. We need the cricket lover to applaud and then wait in anticipation, to sigh and then wait again in anticipation. We need to tell the cricket lover: stop, don’t walk away, don’t turn your back on us. This is still a game of skill, of a twirling ball and a flourishing bat, of the heart in the mouth and even sometimes, of the shirt in the hand.
That is why I cannot wait to watch Sachin Tendulkar play again.
Indian cricket desperately needs a talisman; someone who signifies skill and honest effort; someone who can tell India to come and watch him and forget her worries for a while; a responsible man who puts an honest bat to a hardworking ball.
Indian cricket needs someone who worships the game, not the benefits that go with it, for there are such few worshippers at Annual General Meetings. Everywhere there are people looking lecherously at our cricket, eager to make the next penny, searching for the next rupee. And cricket itself, that simple game of bat and ball, of skill and effort, of brilliance and perseverance lies by the roadside, waiting to be noticed.
That is what I hope Sachin Tendulkar can do. I want to see him rock on the back foot and play that stunning drive through the covers, I want to see him take that little step forward and hit the ball past the bowler, I want to see him pull forward of square, come down the wicket and hit over long-off, cut past point, paddle to fine leg. I want to gape. I want to applaud.
Strange that such joy should mean so little in the face of that extra vote from the north or the west.
We’ve spent too much time on penny stocks of late. It’s time to look at the blue chips again. Hopefully it’s time to say good-bye to the prospectors and welcome back to the pilgrims.
Published: October 7, 2005
Pic source: wallpapermela.com, Vikas – By Vikas – The Legend, CC BY 2.0 commons.wikimedia.org