Write an Article Live Scores App

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


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

Michael Clarke questions Australia's decision to withdraw Steven Smith midway through the Sri Lanka ODI series Clarke felt that Smith should have headed home after the Test series or finished off the ODI series if at all he needed to take a break.
3 instances when an ODI hat-trick contained 3 different modes of dismissals LBW, Caught and Bowled - James Faulkner joins a particularly exclusive club
Police nab culprits in theft from Ranji cricketer's house Samarth, a Ranji player for Karnataka, was robbed of valuables worth Rs 10 lakh.
Cricket world reacts in surprise as Steve Smith withdrawn from tour midway Captain Steve Smith has been withdrawn from the Australia team in the middle of the ODI series, David Warner will be leading the side in his absence
India vs West Indies T20Is in USA: India Predicted XI India and the West Indies face off after their historic semi-finals in the World T20. How many changes will we see in the Indian side?
5 instances when foreign cricketers were smitten by Indian damsels There are some incredible love stories between international cricketers with famous Indian women.
Virender Sehwag's hilarious reply to Piers Morgan's dig at India's Rio medal tally Sehwag ridiculed the English cricket team's failure to win even a single ODI World Cup despite being the inventors of the game.
Steve Smith withdrawn from Sri Lanka tour, David Warner to lead Australia The skipper leaves for home in a bid to freshen up ahead of a hectic schedule.
Tamil Nadu Premier League 2016: Teams and full players list The eight teams will battle it out over 31 matches from August 24 to September 18.
ICC Test Match Rankings: Top 5 longest streaks as the No. 1 team India recently held the No. 1 for 5 days, how long have they been able to hold onto it for in the past?
Top 5 current wicket-keeper batsmen in Test cricket Five wicket-keepers from Test playing nations who have cemented their places in the side and have become important assets of the team.
Duleep Trophy 2016: India Red take huge lead on Day 2 Yuvraj Singh's side are 354 runs with seven wickets in hand.
Javed Miandad dissatisfied with ICC's ranking system despite Pakistan grabbing top spot Miandad wants all Test playing nations to play an equal number of home and away Test matches to give a proper meaning to the rankings.
Viv Richards foresees bright future for Indian cricket under Virat Kohli Richards also shared his views on the comparisons between Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara.
Top 5 players with most Man of the Series awards in Tests Who holds the record for the most Man of the Series awards in Tests and will it ever be broken?
MS Dhoni’s biopic gets opposition from Maharashtra Navnirman Sena before its release in state MNS says that Maharashtrians can watch Dhoni's biopic in Hindi instead of it in Marathi if they want to see the film.
Glenn McGrath believes easy money available in T20 cricket is preventing players from reaching their potential McGrath offered his support to pink ball cricket claiming that it was required to maintain Test cricket's stature as the game's best.
Ravichandran Ashwin breaks Indian record for most Man of the Series awards in Test cricket Ashwin went past Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag to pick up his sixth Man of the Series award in Test cricket.
West Indies vs India 4th Test, Day 5: LIVE ...
Top 10 shortest Test matches in history Rain, wet outfields, dangerous pitches, Test cricket has been curtailed for a number of reasons. Some of these might shock you.
Fetching more content...
Related articles