The end of an Era

Anil Kumble
DadaIts a great start to the series by India against England who just didn’t know what hit them. Yuvraj played one of the best innings i have seen in a long long time. Oh it was breathtaking stuff. But having said that it just didn’t feel the same. One reason for that was the absence of ‘The God’, Sachin Tendulkar. But he will be back after a couple of one dayers. The ones i am more worried about are Sourav and Anil.

I can’t begin to express what i felt when Jumbo and Dada said good bye to the game. It was a very emotional moment for me( i know non cricket enthusiasts would be rolling their eyes but it really was). The poeple i had grown up watching, the ones who i had given so many standing ovations to, the ones whose success i had celebrated treating my friends and family, the ones who i gave mouthfuls to when they disappointed once too often, were going to say good bye one after the other. And its not like i didn’t see it coming. I knew the time was near but even then i just never thought it would feel like this.

My most favourite memory of Dada is undoubtedly the Natwest top less celebration. It was something i wouldn’t have believed if i had not seen it with my own eyes. And i feel lucky that i was able to witness that match. Ganguly was the one who taught everyone to be aggressive and not take shit from any one, not even the Australians. He was one of the most inspirational captains of all time. A true magician on his day as he could find gaps on the off side even if you put all the fielders on that side. He is the reason we have Yuvraj and Shewag in the team. They would have been dropped long back had he not insisted on giving them a longer leash as he saw the talent that others could not.

Jumbo on the other hand grew on me. Honestly i was not a fan when i first saw him. But over the years i saw this man toil hard and give his all no matter what and I started appreciating his determination and grit. Everyone remembers him for the 10 wickets that he took or his spell against the windies with a broken jaw but for me the imprint that he leaves(apart from the former two) is of his Test 100 in England and his last wicket in test cricket where he ran back and caught a skier with a broken finger and then threw the ball back at the stumps in all his fury. This was Anil Kumble, who would come out fighting no matter what.

All the seniors were Juniors when i started watching Cricket and i have been a part of their faboulous journey over the years. They have given me some of the happiest moments of my life. Yes its true. Kumble’s hundred or 10 wickets, Dada’s topless celebration, Rahul’s coming of age as a one day player, Laxman’s 281. Each one of these moments has given me immense happiness. There have been times in my life when i have been really down and in those times some one out of these extraordinary players has inspired me, so that i could get up and hope for a better tomorrow.  No doubt they have also been reponsible for some of my poor marks throughout School and College( there would always be a match during exams which was so not fair) but that is a story for another time.

Its not that i don’t believe in the new players. I think there is some exceptional talent there and i am hopeful that we will win the worldcup this time. Its just that these so called seniors are my childhood heores, my family members, my inspiration and my idols and to see them go is just really tough.  There is a reason why i havn’t listed any of Sachin’s achievements or written much about him. Its coz i can’t even imagine Cricket without him. He is the reason why i started watching the game and to imagine the day when he retires just gives me the creeps.


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