Thursday, November 14, 2013


The final test is here. And inspite of myself, I am feeling a little low. In my opinion, the retirement has been quite delayed, but now that the event is impending, something still seems wrong. After all Sachin Tendulkar has been part of the Indian team since, well, as long as I can remember.

I for one wasn't elated when a hastily planned farewell series was announced. After all this meant that a mouth-watering feast of India-South Africa contest has been reduced to a level of high tea. And all the over-the-top (read normal) media coverage and the grand plans (199 kg of rose petals, paintings as farewell gifts etc.) made it all worse. But now that the last match is here, the occasion is tinged with sadness. After all its another reminder that another of my childhood heroes is leaving the stage.  

Here is a little run-down of how the final test went by and what I was upto at the same time. To borrow a line from 24, events happen in real time.

Nov 14 - Day 1
Early Morning - Should I have gone to Wankhede? Sould I have tried for the tickets? Having "grown up" now, the enthusiasm has reduced dramatically. But... maybe I should have...

Its newspaper reading time. Lots & lots of anecdotes. There is a full pull-out section. Loved the little Sachin holding a bat picture...the random stories... the changed times... Yes 24 years is a lot of time!!! Ohh...and its Children's Day today. A childhood hero beginning to leave the stage on the most festive day of school life. Somehow quite apt.

Toss Time - I am planted in front of the TV. Got a rumour that Sachin might come for the toss instead of Dhoni. Rumour quashed, Dhoni wins the toss and elects to bowl. First thought - given the quality of West Indies cricket in recent times, there is only one last innings for Sachin. But I have to head for office. 
Record Alert - With the toss done Sachin Tendulkar becomes the first man to appear in 200 Tests. [Aside - probably the last one too?]
West Indies lose Gayle early, try to consolidate a bit, lose their way and get shot out for 182. During this while Ashwin takes his 100th Test wicket in his 18th test, fastest by an Indian, fastest since World War II and 5th fastest overall [Record Alert]. Dhoni reaches 250 Test dismissals and Ojha takes a 5 wicket haul.Will HE come out to bat today itself?

Tea time. I finally read the Rohit Brijnath article that everyone has been raving about (Click here). More nostalgia. And while I am at it, I read one about my own cricketing God, Rahul Dravid (Click here). And while I am still at, an old Tendulkar blog post by yours truly (Click here for some shameless self-promotion - It was once the top entry on google search for "Sachin Tendulkar")

Post-Tea Session - Indian openers hurtling away. I am wondering if West Indies were worthy opponents for this occasion. Wouldn't giving Ireland Test status have been a more befitting memory. People who managed Day 4 & 5 tickets/passes would be extremely worried about the match lasting the distance.

Landmark Almost Forgotten - Its Shivnaraine Chanderpaul's 150th Test match. Good going Sir.[Aside - Shivnaraine & son Tagenaraine have appeared together for Guyana in first class cricket. Will they become the first father-son pair to play in the same Test match?]

Meanwhile Dhawan gets out. So the all important question - Will it to be Vijay or Pujara getting a standing ovation on getting out? ... And Murali Vijay it is whose wicket is celebrated by the crowd.

3:30 P.M. - HE has walked into bat... (maybe for the last time?) Why the hell I am in office at this time? Why didn't I try for the tickets? WHY? WHY?? WHY??? Runs scored... so the Bradman fate has been avoided. Only other alternative - go out with a century - like Greg Chappel or Azhar.  Which reminds me - Azhar was walking down Sachin on his first test (pic here), Manoj Prabhakar was the one alongside him for his first test century (pic), Nayan Mongia was giving him comapny in the great Chennai innings of 1999 and Ajay Jadeja was his last opposing captain in Ranji trophy (pic). Quite a comprehensive list of unsavory characters here :P

Back on the field - 1st boundary has gone like a tracer bullet (please excuse the side-effect of having listened to years of Ravi Shastri's commentary). Statutory Warning - This is going to be a long blog. Into double digits now. Pujara is also batting, not that anyone is looking at his or India's score... BUT HE BETTER NOT RUN OUT SACHIN.  HIS score crosses a "score" (couldn't resist the pun). If following online commentary is making me goosebumpy, can't even imagine the feelings of the chosen ones in the stands.

Day 1 ends with SRT at 38 not out. #DecisionTime - Should I bunk office tomorrow? And by the way, India trails by 25 runs with 8 wickets in hand.

Returns from office... Listening to FM Radio. Every song on every channel is interspersed with chants of Sachin... Sachiiiin. Well on FM at least one Godly quality is on full display - HIS omnipresence.

To Be Continued...

No comments:

Post a Comment

The Commentary Box