Wake up at 8 a.m. , potter down remembering there's Australia playing India in Madras. The last few weeks have been odd talking to folks about cricket seems to put me off. The familiar players have either turned to the commentary box or become administrators and then there's the small matter of India losing a lot of test matches home and away. Living outside India in a country that still follows cricket it's hard to have a conversation which doesn't meander cricket wards. The usual things come up , IPL, Dhoni (and him being super cool or not caring), India not caring enough about test cricket and folks only caring about money, losing to England in England, Australia in Australia, England in India, BCCI and DRS. Amid all this you then hear in the papers Tendulkar's quit ODIs , a format he defined, he's going back to play Ranji Trophy and the Irani trophy. You search youtube and then find him flaying Sreesanth all over in the Irani trophy final and all that . So, there's hope at the back of your mind, you want him and will him to do well against the Aussies.
Then turning on the TV at 8 a.m. and then figuring out over a cup of tea (note, not coffee), that India are batting the familiar feeling starts up again. The memory of the '98 series with Australia being in India came up. One
still had the odd memory of sixer Sidhu hitting a six and Krishna a good
friend next to me claims to have touched the ball as it went past.
There was that slight bout of jealousy then, six inches this way and one
might have caught it. You then realise the H stand might have gone and replaced by pointy turrets which makes Chepauk look nicer and all that but one thing hasn't changed, who comes out at #4 in the Indian cricket team. You watch Vijay play on and then notice that the glasses don't help Sehwag protect his leg stump. Ofcourse then there's the usual crescendo of noise that's been increasing ever since '89 usually means a certain SRT is walking out into the middle. Right, here we go again - 12/2 again SRT in the middle - nothing really changes does it ?
Pattinson is bowling quick, the commentator says he's spent 20 minutes warming up. You scoff, It's Madras, how much more warming up do you need there ! after all this is the hot season . Then you think hmmm Tendulkar, middle stump full and straight he's got bowled too many times. And then you keenly move forward , the tea is forgotten and watch the first ball - what's happening here. The usual crisp footwork, precise motion of the bat meeting ball and then you hear the sound of the ball hitting the bat and you know it's 4. The next 2 balls disappear to the boundary with similar precision, the mind goes back to the dismantling of McGrath and a few others with India being in a similar position.
You just know, he's going to play well again. Sanity is restored, the world is back to normal and there's nothing more you want. You switch off the TV, potter about for a while doing other things after those 4 balls, and then come back and watch him calmly get to a 70 in what can only be described as a knock of someone showing who's boss.
So, in conclusion - Chepauk might change, the world might still be clamouring for Tendulkar to retire and he probably might at some point, but amid all this Saturday morning was still worth it.
So here's to a Sunday morning of discovering a rare Tendulkar century. Surely these are collectors items now :)