Cricket is a funny game, they say! It surely is, with its own share of ups and downs and its tendency of being equally unpredictable, both in terms of the result as well as shelf life. Change is the only constant – the heroes of yesterday are relatively insignificant today, the icons half a decade back are no longer the same, those who created history are probably just the supporting acts in the current scheme of things. Having said all this, the adulation, fame, and respect haven’t been lost, but it just pales in comparison in what it was once.
Well, due to my love for Indian cricket, on the whole, it is inevitable for me to assume that there would be many who would resonate with my introduction above. Undoubtedly, the Indian team is an extremely dominating force in world cricket as I write this, but you never want to see your former idols or heroes go out in a wilderness, do you?
I was probably trying to get into my Academy XI’s U-15 side when Yuvraj Singh was belting the Aussies all over the park as barely a 19-year old. Overawed by the legends like Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid at the dawn of the century, I saw Gautam Gambhir embark upon his journey in international cricket. Talk of Harbhajan Singh and the writing was clear on the wall – he was earmarked for greater things in Indian cricket, and he delivered and how!
These three have given us Indians a lot of memories – the ones that can go on to become fairy tales. Six sixes by Yuvraj Singh in World T20 2007, Harbhajan Singh making Ricky Ponting his bunny in the 2001-02 home Test series against Australia including a hat-trick, Gautam Gambhir fighting it out like a warrior in the 2007 World T20 and ICC World Cup 2011 finals – all these moments are just the tip of the iceberg. Dwell deep enough, and you realize they have somewhere contributed to the development of the younger generation.
Sometimes, it’s not just the sheer calculation of batting averages and economy rates that matter, it’s the presence, aura, and vibe that prevails in the dressing room that counts. The numbers can’t be inherited, the culture can be. The game has become so fiercely competitive that even its best students can’t fathom the magnitude of situations at times, be it on or off the field.
Though the three in the discussion has apparently fallen out of the selectors’ radar for quite some time now, I wish they deserve to have their last day on the field – with pride, respect and the same kind of enthusiasm that they had on debut. Time is definitely not on their side, and sooner or later, they are expected to call it a day.
All the three deserve a legendary tag for their unparalleled achievements and contributions to the Indian cricket, but my question here is – Do the legends who have served Indian cricket for so long go out on a high or just as entities that just weren’t good enough to be selected again? EVER!