Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Our GOD and the World Cups

Every great player has one dream, to be the greatest of all and to be a part of the greatest teams of his era. For some time at least. Sachin Tendulkar is no different. The reason he was so overwhelmed and amazingly happy at India becoming the top test side in the world is because he has been waiting to be part of a numero uno side for 2 decades. That in spite of the fact that his performances has been nothing short of legendary. World Cups are a fairly reliable source of ranking sides. And He has done everything in his power to make India no1. Let me take you to a nostalgic journey and relive God's WC moments.

He was a 14 years and 6 months old at the time of 1987 world cup, still playing ranji and irani trophy matches and making domestic bowlers look first timers. He was still waiting for a chance to play for the country and he would be getting it in some months time on the trip to Pakistan. In the next 5-6 years he became a sort of regular member in the side, batting lower down the order maybe at no. 5-6-7 and scoring an odd 50 whenever the opportunity presented itself. So at the 1992 world cup, while he was an important part of the test arena, he was still finding his feet in the ODI format. Bear in mind he was only 18 at that time and there were people like Kapil, Azhar, Manjrekar, Srikkanth, Prabhakar who took the responsibility. To be frank nothing much was expected from the Indian team in tough conditions of Australia and we won just two games against Pakistan and Zimbabwe.

By the time 1996 Wills WC came in to the scene, Sachin Tendulkar had changed completely. He had started opening the innings, was making international attacks look like formidable net bowlers and was totally dominating the world of cricket. The only problem was that he was always found short of partners, or people who could complete his job and win it for India. At the end of the tournament he was the highest run getter by some distance and neither his team nor the crowd at Eden could support India's cause. Similar stuff happened for the next 3-4 years. On one side there was God almighty playing cricket in the shape of SRT, on the other side there were 10 others who were merely happy to be a part of the side and watch God play. In WC 1999 Mr. Anshuman Gaekwad's brilliance saw Sachin bat at no.4 for no good reason after 5 years of total domination at the top of the order. That stupid idea coupled with the fact that he was battling personal demons, saw him fail and nothing much was said about the performance of our team in England '99.

Enter John Wright. Sachin opened again and all those who thought Sachin did not have it in him to take India to WC glory (in 1996 many hated Sachin for being selfish) were put to rest with as much ease as with which Sachin dispatched Akhtar for 18 in an over. What a tournament that was. Only if Zaheer and company could have kept the Aussies quiet, I would have been writing a different blog story altogether. He was the leading run scorer once again and the man of the tournament by a long way. Just when everything was going perfectly well, in came the saddest Aussie ever (mind you he has got competition in Ponting) read Greg Chappel. He demoted Sachin to no. 4 again and India were reduced to their worst performance in WCs ever. It was so bad that I feel insulted to even think about it.

Since that tournament many people have raised the question of retirement and body not able to take the load and what not. But Sachin has waved all such rumors aside. His followers are waiting for him to lift that trophy and fulfill not only his own dream but one which we have been waiting to come true since 1996.

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