PadfootSpeaks


Category Archive

The following is a list of all entries from the Cricket category.

Very Wall Left Sir…

With a fleeting regret and a wistful longing at the past, I remember watching the legendary Kolkata Eden test of 2001. Another pang of the heart, I look back upon the unforgettable Adelaide Test of 2004. Headingly, Jamaica… all surge through the dusty lanes of nostalgia, rubbishing the old adage about nice guys finishing last. It has been a glorious journey of transformation from the bare beginnings to the rock solid “Wall”, but above all it has been fascinating to watch a boy turn into a man as I grew up witnessing this transformation.

When asked about the nickname “Wall”, Rahul , in the press conference joked that maybe people had named him so that they could use phrases like crumbling wall or hole in it whenever his form nosedived. But I do not see Dravid as the wall or whatever metaphor one confers on him. My lasting image of him is the intent and the discipline shown with the side reeling at 3 or 4 wickets gone, looking down the barrel ,his unsurpassable patience and intermittent heart-warming pulls and cover drives assuring the millions that even with the “God” gone, hope remained. Many cricketing pundits feel that his retirement was ill-timed and should have come after the England tour. The fact remains that Rahul hardly cared for personal glory or for a memorable farewell test . The cause of the team always headed the self . In Kipling’s words which he had quoted, he was “the wolf who lived for the pack”.

There are lot of things to write about Jammy. His cricketing style, volumes of records, his impeccable focus , perseverance, his on and off field conduct, his strong family values…….. But I believe these all have been dealt by writers far worthier and informed. For the starry eyed ten year old (and this was before India got Sehwag and Gambhir as reliable openers) who had started watching cricket, Rahul Dravid was the familiar sight walking down the stairs even before we could realize that India had lost Vikram Rathore , Nayan Mongia , Akash Chopra or Deep Dasgupta….. , a calming reassurance written all across his batting as he tried to consolidate the innings, stringing historical partnerships and often being labelled as the other supporting guy.

Life moves on… soon the cricket lover will get used to some new name at the Number 3 . We might have another legend .. who knows.. Kohli, Sharma ,Pujara… all have shown promise. But , in the words of Sachin Tendulkar, “there cannot be another cricketer like Rahul Dravid.

Well played Sir….. Thank you for all the memories.

 

 


Sachin …. The immortal

I had always thought of writing about my cricket idol on my blog but whenever I tried , I ran out of thoughts. What to write of a man about whom so much has been written in such extensive volumes by renowned and eminent personalities. Just the sheer weight of his achievements would be enough to fill my hard disc, although I confess I have a 250 GB one. So any article that boasted of his statistics would be trite and meaningless. But today , when he just scored his 50th test century at Centurion against South Africa, I could no longer hold back myself. I decided to write something on him for which I knew I would not have to refer to the statistical records , because this one would just be straight from the heart.

I remember watching a video of Harsha Bhogle at IIM A speaking about him. That small eulogy by the greatest commentator was , I felt the closest any one had ever got to understanding the man , myth or a machine of our times, Sachin Tendulkar. He narrated an incident where the genius of SRT stood out. It was the world cup final 2003 , India vs Australia. Australia had posted a mammoth total of 359 and the match was being considered over by many cricketing pundits as well as players. The problem was complex…. And many had given up hope. But in cricket as well as in life , it’s how you approach a problem that determines whether you are going to find its solution or not. Sometimes these solutions work and sometimes they don’t. Perhaps this was one of those times. What we saw as a result probably gave a false impression of a player giving up but it was actually the genius of SRT finding his own way. Because sometimes genius thinks in a way other people can’t. In the team meetings, SRT decided that if they could get one boundary of each over, it meant 200 runs of 50 balls. They just had to get the remaining 160 in 250 balls. It was the reason why he hit Mcgrath for a boundary the very second ball. The reson why he went to hit Mcgrath again was that he had decided someone would have to knock Mcgrath off before he settled in and chipped in a few good overs. It , unfortunately didn’t work as we all remember. But what I wanted to point out was that genius must find his own way, because sometimes genius thinks in a way other people can’t.

 

Time is cruel and again and again it reminds us that Sachin is aging but the man himself has defied age. Post world Cup , he has had a new lease of life and I sincerely hope he ends his career with what he truly deserves….. a part of a World Cup winning team. I think that would perhaps be a fitting end to an insanely incredible career.