Write an Article Live Scores App

"Main khelega. Main dalega. Aila": Sachin Tendulkar’s leaving and so is a part of our childhood

f

Sachin Tendulkar - the "Little Master".

For close to a quarter of a century, Sachin Tendulkar has captivated his audiences (and fielders alike) with the brutal yet graceful use of his willow. (Getty Images)

I remember the day distinctly, so much so that I can recall what I was wearing – a Rs. 100 sky-blue t-shirt with a tinge of black that ran down the sides. Surprisingly, I got my hands on it without stomping my feet or creating quite the hullabaloo.

The tee was something my folks had got me just for the occasion, and emblazoned on the back was ‘Tendulkar 10’ in yellow; my first and only Indian cricket team jersey. The day in question was the 2003 World Cup final. Defending champions Australia against the challengers, India.

20 years since Kapil Dev’s men triumphed at Lord’s, I watched in trepidation (for a 12-year-old who had absolutely nothing to worry about) as India – and their millions of fans – tried to put years of anguish behind them.

Trepidation, simply because the mighty Aussies had steamrolled their opposition – including a crushing nine-wicket win over the Indians, who were bowled out for a paltry 125 in the group stages – on their way to the final.

With an apparent shot at redemption, my worst fears came true. Zaheer Khan infamously dished out 15 runs off the first over and that set the tone for a hiding, as Ricky Ponting and the Australian top-order ripped the Indian bowling attack apart, setting up a massive target of 360.

In complete contrast, India got off to the worst possible start. Sachin Tendulkar, who had scored 669 runs in the run-up to the final, added a meagre four runs to that total after he managed to sky a pull straight back to Glenn McGrath in the opening over.

If I had the power to turn off the telly, I very well would have (but I happened to be at a public screening). Instead off I went; confined within the walls of my room, I confided in my pillow.

The writing was on the wall as the Indian set-up collapsed – save for Virender Sehwag and Rahul Dravid – and fell to another grave defeat, this time by 125 runs. It was on that fateful day I fell out of love with cricket (albeit for a brief period).

The Tendulkar cover drive.

Tendulkar played that shot with such élan throughout his career. (Getty Images)

Main khelega

In retrospect, the bat and ball wasn’t even my first love. That honour belongs to the sport of basketball after Michael Jordan had inspired me to fly high. The simple yet juvenile reason for that: before I could even get down on one knee to play that gorgeous cover drive, I had either played it on to the stumps or straight into the hands of mid-off.

And when I did, I’d storm off, just like I did on the day of that mortifying final. My brother had carefully explained to me when he handed me the basketball for the first time: you don’t get out here; you can take how many ever shots you like.

I never had the tolerance to sit by watching as a teammate took to the crease and neither did I have the eagerness to take to the ground and field. But what I did have the patience for was to watch Tendulkar spank bowler after bowler across (and out) of the park time and again.

I wasn’t even born when Tendulkar made his debut at 16 against Pakistan, but the two words he murmured – “main khelega (Hindi for: I will play) – after a vicious Waqar Younis bouncer left him with a bloodied nose in his debut series in 1989 – sum up his character.

And mind you, that’s a 16-year-old with rugged determination. Tendulkar gave you a sense of belief and truly inspired you to do great things. Moreover, that is why my most favourite memory of him is not one where he achieved something with the bat.

Page 1 of 3 Next

Latest
Andre Russell admits worry over doping controversy The West Indies allrounder thanked his friends and well-wishers for keeping his mind away from the doping controversy to a certain extent.
New Zealand opener Tom Latham believes patience is the key for success in Zimbabwe Latham warned against taking the Zimbabwean side lightly, especially as they will be playing in their home conditions.
Alastair Cook believes Joe Root's positivity helps 'blockers like him' to thrive England skipper delighted with the emphatic victory at Old Trafford.
West Indies vs India 2016: Ian Bishop lauds Virat Kohli's aggressive captaincy Bishop feels Ravichandran Ashwin will have to bat consistently against all teams to be considered as a proper allrounder.
'Jonny be good' is motto for in-form Bairstow
Sri Lanka vs Australia 2016: Josh Hazelwood believes Sri Lanka's innings debacle will have long-lasting impact The Australian pacer now wants the batsmen to play Sri Lanka out of the game with a huge first innings lead.
5 reasons why captains are reluctant to enforce the follow-on Very rarely a follow-on has caused troubles to the enforcer. Why are the captains so hesitant to enforce it then? Lets ponder.
James Faulkner sets his sights on earning Test recall All-rounder keen to utilize upcoming Sheffield Shield season.
The greatest ODI XI of all time Who features in the greatest ODI team of all time. Read on to find out.
Ryan Harris wants Australia to intimidate Sri Lanka with verbal pressure Former pacer expects hosts to prepare for aggressive treatment.
Brett Lee to shoot for 'Bhabi Ji Ghar Par Hain!'
Mitchell Johnson set to play for Perth Scorchers in Big Bash League The 34-year old is reported to have signed a one-year contract with the Perth-based franchise.
5 bowlers who have conceded the most number of runs in a T20 innings without picking up a wicket T20 bowlers who were smashed all over the ground and did not pick a single wicket.
India off-spinner Ashwin regains number one spot in test rankings
Wicket-keepers who can bat: An important but endangered species A look into changing trends in wicket-keeping with the advent of ODIs and T20s and why regular 'keepers are required
South Africa to introduce racial quotas for national teams The CSA have come under fire from the South African government for a lack of transformation in its national teams.
Who Said What: World reacts to Muttuiah Muralitharan's role as a spin consultant for the Austalian Team Australia will be looking to take full advantage of the expert advice given by Muttiah Muralitharan during the on-going tour.
Ashwin back as No.1 Test bowler, Kohli rises to 12th in batting rankings
Viv Richards' son gifts Kohli a painting of his double ton
Interview with EAS Prasanna: "Ravichandran Ashwin is the best spinner in the world" In an exclusive interview with Sportskeeda, EAS Prasanna talks about the evolution in spin bowling, the Kohli-Kumble duo, and Ravi Ashwin.
Twitter reacts to Sri Lanka's batting collapse on day 1 Twitter reacts to Sri Lanka's batting collapse on day 1.
More →
Related articles