Sachin Tendulkar. I am making a deliberate attempt here to begin writing my Diary and dedicate it to the man whose name strikes me whenever I think of India, Indians, and world cricket. What a legend this man is! The World Cup title is not just his dream, it is not just that one milestone which is missing from the hefty record book and cricketing legacy he will leave behind for Indian cricket, it is a dream of over a billion people who want to see the legend lift it up at his home ground – the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. Pinch me, shake me till I come to my senses, because ladies and gentlemen, it just can’t get better than this!
And this is not a Diary of a journalist but a diehard Indian cricket fan. As Team India inches closer to the World Cup ’11 win, I wish I suffer from this ‘patriotic noise pollution’ every time India goes out to play Pakistan. I didn’t feel at work last week at all. Reason? First, the reigning World Cup champions were the shown door by us (taking the liberty to use ‘us’ and ‘we’ instead of India here) and now, Pakistan, for it was the biggest blockbuster expected this season. The entire week went by waiting for the big one on Wednesday and it almost sounded like preparations for Diwali.
I can recall and clearly remember India’s last outing in World Cup 2009, when they were ousted by minnows Bangladesh, shattering more than a billion hopes. But this time around, we stand proud in the finals against the Lankans and that too on our own soil. We have it all – Tendulkar’s experience, Dhoni’s charisma and luck and Yuvraj and Zaheer’s consistency throughout the tournament (I still can’t get over Nehra’s inclusion in the playing squad, though) – there’s no chance we aren’t repeating the 1983 WC history!
Well, talking of history, I’m sure the moolah-makers affixed to the world’s most watched and celebrated cricketing extravaganza are in for some good times too. Ratings and the numbers game get the advertisers to ride the World Cup wave and their plans would only intensify when India plays Sri Lanka in the year’s most awaited sporting clash. After all, it is all about money, honey, and Dhoni!
To make an observation, social media then wasn’t as important a part of our lives as it is today, but it has made a difference and given a whole new meaning to patriotism and unity. There was a time when friends made plans and gathered over India-Pak matches, and today, we are in an age where we unite by ‘likes’ and cheer for Team India by tweets. Not bad!
At times I wonder, what do we get when 11 men in a cricket team representing a nation beat another set of men performing the same duty? But then I realise, we live in India and here, when it comes to sports, you are either a cricket fan or sports is of no importance to you, the former being the most definite choice by birth, while the latter is seeing drastic changes, thanks to players like Saina Nehwal (badminton), Vijender Singh (boxing), and Akhil Kumar (boxing), to name a few.
So, going by my birth and emotional right, I await the moment we all are desperate for. Let’s put to rest our thoughts of the 2003 World Cup finals as the Aussies are already back home, and win the Cup this time. Let’s win it for no one else but the man himself – Sachin Tendulkar. And yes, I do want to break my hand just one more time when I will go berserk seeing the Indian team clinching the historic trophy.