Friday, November 6, 2009

Cricket is our religion, Sachin is our God

1st Feb 1999, M A Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai
India is playing a test match against Pakistan after a long gap of 10 years. After neck to neck scores around 250 in the first three innings, Indians are chasing a target of 271with more than 90 overs to go. Half side is back in pavillion with just 82 on board.
People across the nation are yet to loose hope for the simple reason that the little master is still at the craese. As he is doin it for about a decade now, he once again stands up to expectatioms from his nation.
Nayan Mongia gives him much required help with a half century. They take the score up to 218 where Wasim Akram gets Mongia.
No need to worry though, the god is still there n the target now seems to be within reach.
The score goes up to 254 when Saqlain beats the little master. He leaves the field after scoring a blistering knock of 136.
We were witnessing the drama at one of our friend's place. I was a kid who was yet to understand indian cricket. I couldnt understand why everybody had suddenly become tensed with 17 runs with 3 wickets in hand. Probably they wanted Sachin to hit the winning runs. Crazy people.
Next three indians did not waste much time before I understood the reason behind tension. They were back in pavillion within less than 4 overs. We lost by 12 runs.

...After 10 years...

5 Nov 2009, Hyderabad
A completely different indian side, except for the little master, is playing against the Austrailians in a one dayer.
These days indians dont loose hope till the last ball. And yes people now proudly tell that we have more than match winners now.
Aussies set a mammoth total of 350. Sachin seems to be in good touch and is crusing at decent rate. Nobody is able to hold the other end though with 4 down for 166. Suresh Raina joins the little master and they take the score up to 299 at an unbelievable rate. Indians are cruising towards an amazing victory. Sachin himself fights till 322 when a slow delivery beats him.
I keep telling myself that 19 of 16 is very much possible though I still remember Chennai test.
Praveen Kumar takes i very close with 5 required of 3.
Next ball sums up the whole story. Praveen drives it towards long off n is stretching for second, but an excellent flat throw from the deep right at the stumps makes him fall short by few inches.