A date with the legend

Sachin's attitude was one thing that made him appealing to people.

Zimbabwean cricketer Andy Flower once said, “There are two types of cricketers in the world. One, Sachin Tendulkar. Two, all others.”

I’ll be honest. I have never been a cricket fanatic. I have never left my work, or dropped all plans to watch a match in the stadium, or even catch the telecast. But I realised early on that it is very difficult to completely bypass the game that, so clearly, runs in the veins of the country’s people.

Sooner or later, the craze crept up on me and I found myself cheering at the television-screen when the Indian team hit a boundary, or even pray when the team needed just four runs off the last ball to win a game. So when the opportunity arose, I couldn’t possibly decline the invitation to attend an interview session with one of the greatest cricketers of all time. A lot has been said and written about the God-gifted talent he seemed to possess on the field. Some argue he’s the most complete batsman of his time, and some say he is the most prolific run-maker of all time, but the world unanimously seem to agree on him being the biggest cricket icon the game has ever known.

Perhaps the most apt observation made was that beneath the helmet, under that unruly hair, inside the cranium, there was something we didn’t understand, something beyond scientific measure. Something that allowed him to soar, to roam a territory of sport that, forget us, even those who are gifted enough to play alongside him could not even fathom. When he went out to bat, people switched on their television sets and switched off their lives.

Game statistics and his performances are splashed all over sports websites and magazines, the number of Tests he played, the runs he made are all etched in the minds of cricket fans across the world, but what many seem to miss is the humility this man brings to the game, and his personal life. His easy attitude was one of the many things that made him appealing on the field and off.

Walking into that ball-room, it didn’t take more than thirty seconds for him to captivate the crowd. Relating to both the young members present as well as the older lot seemed to be effortless on his part. In that moment, it was difficult to say who was more star-struck, the kids or their parents. Sharing anecdotes about his team members and family alike, his modest and unassuming nature shone through in whatever he said. Listening to him talking about his experiences, the easiest thing to forget was his celebrity status. Each question thrown at him was met with boyish enthusiasm.

This is exactly the reason people have flocked to stadiums to try and catch a glimpse of the ‘Little Master’, the ‘God of cricket’. Even though the curtains have fallen on his star-studded innings, it is safe to assume that the memories of his great play will not be forgotten.

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