Saturday, November 09, 2013

That first sight of Sachin Tendulkar

I don't exactly remember the year but it is possible that I was in standard 7 or 8. The Indian team was playing an exhibition match perhaps for the benefit of Sunil Valson, ex-Cricket player and a part of the triumph India World Cup Cricket team of 1983.

The Indian team stayed then at Hotel Sudakshina, a small-3 star hotel which did not have anything to offer now but was a great hit then. The match before day, I had visited there and had glimpses of South African players Fannie De Villers and Allan Donald. I was super excited and was longing to visit the ground to watch a player called Sachin Tendulkar.

It rained that morning and the match supposed to start at 9am started close to 10:30am. It was a 30-overs match. I had gone to the ground with my cousin who took every care that I was not lost amongst the crowd. It included that famous dialogue to the security guy, "I am over 18". Ridiculous, a blatant lie but it drew a few giggles.

After the initial few wickets had fell, in entered Sachin Tendulkar. I was sitting at the stands, concrete slabs with no roof above. It was hot and humid as you can understand after a shower. And I saw Sachin, a short, lean person with enough curly hairs that one could think of. I distinctly remember few of his shots and couple of sixes hit of Kapil Dev. What struck me was his batting. He played straight as straight you can hit.

The straight drive drove from his bat and dashed off to the boundary with the momentum of a young girl running towards her lover. It was a glimpse of poetry. I fell in love with the game right away. Sachin captured the imagination but the hallmark of his batting was that he took bowlers apart.

After the game got over, I have seen his matches on television. Then saw him playing at Eden Gardens, Kolkata and Chinnaswamy Bangalore. He has scored so much and driven the Indian team for ages. But it is time that he takes a well-deserving rest since he earned it. Sachin deserves it. I'll miss his game but most of all miss his straight drive.

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