Wednesday, April 24, 2013

23 years!

I know when it does happen for real, I will cry. The sense of loss will be just way too high - the loss of a way of life, the loss of a ritual, the loss of the sense of expectation, the loss of the smug confidence and belief that we have had the best of the best. A way, ritual, expectation, belief that has gone on now for a whopping 23 years.

23 years of that trademark straight drive, that flowing cover drive, the deft paddle sweep, the cheeky lift over third-man, the hook and when the back gave way the pull, the swift running between the wickets, even for his partners runs at the end of a long day, the efficient fielding, the boyish grin, the pure passion, the smart bowling, the evil leg-breaks, the assuring humility and just the pure uplifting presence. 23 years of that.

Almost 23 years of the stadiums going "Sachhhinnn, Saaaachiinnn" at the drop of a hat. The pure unadulterated joy at the second Indian wicket going down in a Test inning. Because that heralded the arrival of the man everyone was there to see and to shower with adulation and adoration. Because he was The Player.

23 years of dancing down the pitch to hit Shane Warne on his way to those brilliant Sharjah knocks, 23 years of denying himself a off side stroke while compiling a 241* at Sydney, Lifting the fast South Africans over third man, the first double in ODIs, the utter crushing of Olonga - oh how many of those have we had. 23 years of full fledged joy.

I was there at Wankhede when India played England. And lost. I was there when Sachin seemed totally out of sorts, got out cheaply and yet the crowd gave him the obligatory standing ovation. And I remember grimacing as i stood to applaud, not that particular inning, but the body of his work and the 23 years of pure joy.

But in that grimace, was my realisation that the era had ended. Maybe all that was left was a few good shots as the credits rolled and the curtain fell. Maybe the curtain would not fall completely, maybe there would be that surprise act just before they fell - but the inevitability was clearer than ever before

And in many ways, I likened the current Tendulkar to a patient with Alzheimers. There isn't a morsel of doubt of his greatness and we remember him such -but with age catching up, the moments of Alzheimers are increasing and there are those many more moments where he looks a shadow of a great player - somebody who has forgotten what used to be and seems out of place. There are still those moments of lucidity -where everything is clear, when it seems nothing has changed and the shots flow - the 81 in the first inning at Chennai v/s Australia being a case in point. Or suddenly right out of no where, the blade comes down blazing, meeting a venomous ball right in the middle and dispatches it right to the boundary with consummate ease.

It was not a moment of loss when he quit ODIs - arguably the format where he owned the top perch - because possibly the allure of seeing him battle in Tests was still alive. The IPL keeps giving a few snapshots of greatness but the Whites was where he was still to do battle. And that kept me from letting the retirement sink in.

But now with no Tests till the end of the year and all signs of cricketing Alzheimers coming in their entirety, a 40th birthday being celebrated, the sense of end is near. And i know that when that day comes, the reality of 23 years shall come crashing down and it shall hit hard. And that day - i shall cry, for i have known not the era of cricket that has no assurance of a Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar striding out to the middle at no.4.

Monday, October 22, 2012


As a kid, you probably climbed walls and trees, wondered not what would happen if you fell. Till someone told you. Fear.

You probably jumped  over water poodles measuring some feet. But would refuse to do it if it was the same distance over  a valley. Fear.

Cricket - two tailenders would gloriously strike the ball in a given up chase, bring the team close to victory and then give up striking in favor of pottering, losing it all in the end. Fear.

Standing up a height, feet tied up in a bungee rope, looking down at a deep pool - the worst that could happen is a deep dive. And yet having looked down, those feet refuse to move. Fear.

Standing in a pub, eying that sweet girl - who probably gave you a half smile, hesitating, focusing on that drink instead and eventually leaving as you came - alone. Fear

In most cases, that invisible leash of fear holds us back, preventing us from doing what we most want to do - even though the adverse impact of it all is higher imagined than real. The fear of losing it all - like that bit in Batman Begins, plays itself up when the Scarecrow fires his chemicals - making itself bigger and bigger leaving you to take the chicken route.

Most often, the material loss in case of failure is almost negligible, it is the perceived loss of your  own image, a social face if i may say so - that counts heavy in that final moments, when you look down the bungee platform, gulp down, shake that head mildly and walk away - forgetting the greatest truth of them all, the failure to risk failure in following what you really wanted to do - is the failure of the biggest kind.

Three friends of mine. Very different people. Yet they abandoned their fear and set sail.

One quit his job of 5 years and will spend his savings literally exploring the world with an itinerary so fancy that Phileas Fogg would be jealous. The risk? In real terms none. He comes back a year later and will find himself a job that will pay him in similar payscales as now. The payoff? Experiences to last a lifetime and who knows a living to be made by narrating those experiences.

The other two - a couple. Wanted to travel for a time as short as 3 months. The guy's company refused him a sabbatical, the girl's has no problem. So our hero quit - went off for 3 months and hunted for a job when back. The risk? None in real terms. The Payoff - See above

With no risk whatsoever in real terms - these are still sterling examples of people who went beyond. Because our own internal inhibitions hold us back, we see what these guys did as risks - but in reality they are just rational ways to live the one life we have.

And hence when i hear stories - that throw all perceived caution to the wind, it is inspiring - leading me to the hope that someday i will muster the courage myself to snap that invisible leash and go out exploring, jumping, experimenting - doing whatever i see fit - because i want to do it and not because it must be done.

As Calvin said in his last appearance

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Rahul Dravid

The greatest players have defining moments for the career, defining innings that headline their body of work. Lara's 153, Sachin's sandstorms, Ponting's WC hundred, Gavaskar's double to fashion a 404 chase

Dravid has several innings that could contend to be the defining inning. But simply an inning - even though it be of the highest quality possible like Adelaide or Headingley or Kolkatta or even Jamaica - cannot begin to describe Rahul Dravid the player.

For me Rahul's greatness lay not only in his batsmanship - it lay in the fact that he gave it his all, all the time. His defining moment is not in the fact that he had emotional tears in his eyes as he hit the winning runs at Adelaide in the second inning after a monumental double ton in the first. Its not in the fact that he weathered treacherous batting conditions to set up a victory at Headingley. Its in the fact that he thought not twice before donning the gloves for his team or to open the innings when he could have refused.

And hence my defining moment for Dravid is the English series. Lone man standing. Keeping Wickets in Test Match. Opening Batting because we refused to carry backup openers. Carrying his bat through an inning and stepping out to open the inning again, following on.

The numbers will speak enough both about his greatness as a test batsman and even as an ODI batsman. But what the numbers will miss is how much more than batsmanship he brought to the team. What the numbers will miss is the fact that he along with Ganguly and Sachin brought tremendous credibility to the Indian team during the fixing scandal.

The finest no.3 we have known. The man who grind it out for the team cause. The man who re-introduced us to the joys of perseverance. The man who showed that hardwork could never go out of fashion.

For all the years and for being the main reason for us having a spine outside of India, thank you Dravid. We have not thanked you enough only because we rolled in the luxury of having you not as the best of your generation but the second best. We will realise the whole and true value of your batsmanship painfully through your absence.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Inflection Points

In any trend sheet - things dont just happen. There is always an inflection point - the one thing that seems to trigger off the long trend.

Indian cricket - briefly - rose to great heights. World No.1 in Test Cricket and World Cup Champions. On the back of the ability to fight and fight really hard at that. The fighting spirit was inculcated by Wright and Ganguly no doubt - but the inflection point for the eventual rise to no.1 and champions was Perth.

The events in Sydney had left the team pissed and hurt. They responded in Perth. The fastest pitch, the one pitch where India should have had no chance. They fought hard - typified by Ishant's spell to Punter. The spell that defined the match. What stood out however was not the fact that Ishant had bowled 6 fire-breathing overs to Ricky but the fact that when Sehwag suggested that he bowl one more and Kumble asked "Ek Aur Karega" - inspite of being justified to feel tired and let someone else take up the cudgels, Ishant replied "Haan Karunga". And that "ek aur" delivered the wicket of one of the best players of the short ball in Australia. That team was willing to run itself to the ground to win. Because they fought hard.

And lets make no mistake - the rise to no.1 was not just because we played a fair bit at home - it was because we fought hard outside home. The World Cup saw the same fight and the refusal to give up and thus was the Cup won.

But attitudes change. And that change shows. In West Indies, the World no.1 team refused to chase 86 in 15 overs with 7 wickets in hand and called for a tame draw. It matters not that they might not have won it even if they went for it - but the not trying was a crime. It signalled the start of a flagging intent.

The inflection point for the decline however - was in an ironical life coming full circle style - centred around Ishant Sharma again. We were at Lords - we were under pressure. In the second Inning before lunch Ishant had picked up 3 wickets and was firing hard.There was a chance to blow away England and make a match out of it. There was great amount of interest in how India would fight back after lunch. Ishant should have had the ball in his hand raring to go.

Instead Raina started the session with his slow spinners. The man who after a hard long spell had said yes to "ek aur karega" had now after a 45 minute break refused to attack citing tiredness.

And there in lies the story of a lost spine. The Indian team so willing to fight had in their minds clearly given up long back. If no1 and the World Cup was a direct result of a fighting spirit, 8-0 is a fair and just result of the lack of that very fighting spirit.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Indian Cricket (2001 - 2011), We will miss you

It was 2001 and I was in the first year of my engineering. In my 19 years of existence on the earth, I had been a cricket follower and supporter for as long as I could remember. I remember excitedly waking up to the sound of a TV hearing the words "Kapil Dev" and "97" mentioned in the same breath - and thinking WOW Kapil was on 97, only to discover that the full sentence meant that Kapil was at the crease but India was 97/7.

It was the 90s and that was how life was. India would struggle abroad, India would struggle against quality opposition. And we would take solace in some brilliant individual performances - mostly by Sachin - but also by Azhar, Kumble nd the likes of Jadeja/Robin Singh.

With 1996 arrived a new set of batsmen but the results were yet to show. 1999 we got hammered 3-0 in Australia - predicted not by Glenn McGrath but by the Board Secretary. But it was to be the start of something. VVS had a 167 to show and a group of great young players had been hurt enough. Because by the time that season died out on us, we had a new captain. We got a new coach. And between them Ganguly and Wright laid down the foundations for our best ever years of cricket. The foundation was laid for our best ever generation of players to lay down new benchmarks.

2001 - April 2011 is when Indian Cricket arrived. For someone who woke up to a 97/7 - this golden era was everything one could dream of. It began - as it should have - against the Aussies who were on a 16 match roll. It happened as it should have with our captain setting down the tone for eyeball to eyeball confrontation. When for the first time Aussie arrogance was answered in kind. When for the first time following on two Indian batsmen refused to give up. I remember the headline in the Times of India saying "3 Days 403 runs 14 wickets, 1 day 335 runs No wickets"

It was the start of defiance. It was the start of belief. It was the start of an era.

We reached the WC finals in 2003, We won a Natwest final chasing 326, We beat Pakistan in Pakistan,, We drew in West Indies, We won in West Indies, We won series in England, We won matches in Australia and South Africa. We won at Perth. We kept losing first tests - we kept coming back to even the series. We showed gumption time and again - for the first time ever in this golden period. We won a World Cup - every match when we were down, we fought back. Fight back was the DNA of this team. And this DNA led us to that WC win and a climb to no.1 in the rankings.

The Achilles heel in this entire fight was that it was the same set of players doing the winning. Unlike the Aussie great teams - there was not a seamless structure where if a new player came in, he would settle down with the same ease. And that finally showed. A great batting lineup was exposed in England and crushed in Australia.

When that ball slipped through Dravid's gate for an umpteenth time, when Laxman started facing 30 balls without a boundary for a fluent start, when Sachin started getting out while looking sublime, when Sehwag's patience also could not convert into anything substantial, when Gambhir's grit only meant getting the edge - it was the end of an era.

The denouement might have been sad. The end was a tragedy - for this set of greats knew they had failed themselves of their greatest chance to be recorded in history as conquerors. They will now go, having lost their best chance of a glorious exit. But let that not take away from what has been tremendous time of our cricket following life.

For 2001 - 2011, Thank you. It will take time to rebuild and I am willing to wake up to some more 97/7 as long as there is the promise of another such era. But till then its these memories to cherish

Monday, November 14, 2011

That 100th

That elusive ton. Does it even matter if or when he gets it? The "If" is hypothetical, for get it he will. Maybe not at Eden, maybe not at Wankhede, maybe not even at Melbourne. Get it he will - in due course of time.

But for a moment - lets indulge our bits pessimism and consider the thought that he does not in fact get there and remains stranded at 99 tons. Given the form he is in, given how sweetly he has been timing the ball, given the beauty with which he has been playing his drives - there seems no doubt that he will keep scoring runs. And like at the Kotla - his runs will contribute to wins. He might get run down by the pressure of expecting the 100th, might get out in the 90s or even before as he starts chasing a landmark that weighs on his mind.

But if in all this melee - he fails to convert his form into a ton - will it really matter? 33K international runs. 200 international wickets. 22 years of batting at the top of the pile. 1 world cup. A ODI double ton. When time passes by and we remember - will we even remember if he got his 100th?

We will remember the moments. The sandstorm, the thwack over thirdman off Shoaib, The hook off Glenn McGrath at Nairobi, A pristine balanced cover drive, Being lifted on their shoulders by his young teammates, the wincing in pain but cruelly falling short 136, the massacre of Olonga, the disintegration of Warne.

His greatness - in numbers or more importantly in our minds - will not be enhanced by yet another ton. It wont diminish if he does not get there.

Lets just let him be. For sure he knows more about cricket than us fans put together. The 100th will happen, hopefully a 300 will materialise along the way - but the last thing we need to do is pile on the pressure for a landmark that will be good to have but mean nothing. In the meantime, while he takes his own sweet time in getting there - lets just enjoy the fact that we have a freak opener who can churn out runs in the blink of an eye, a number 3 who - if it were not for the chronological fact of existing in the same era of the God - would have been celebrated even more, a number 5 who is so elegant that its a dream to watch. Lets just celebrate the fact that when our no.3 and 4 bat out together in the centre - we are blessed to see 57K international runs out there in the centre.

The milestones will begotten on the journey, lets lay off the pressure to make the milestones the journey.

Monday, April 04, 2011

World Cup Champions

There was this comic on Cricinfo that talked about everlasting images from every World Cup. For me there are everlasting memories from each World Cup. Some of them great - ones i will savor for ever, some I wont savor and yet can't forget.

1996 will always be about Kambli crying and walking off after he had seen Jayasuria turn the ball square and get out the Indian team leading the rowdy Eden crowd to do their best rowdy act.

1999 will be about the Olonga induced collapse against Zimbabwe and then Sachin's return with a century dedicated to his late father

2003 will always be the first over bowled by Zaheer and that brief interlude when it rained during our chase - when for a moment hope lived that we would replay it again and get another shot.

2007 will only be that ugly crouch Sachin got out to playing Dilhara Fernando - the stumps being rattled and even the most optimistic of my hopes dying out in Dubai.

2011 was all about setting things straight. It was not only about winning it for Sachin, it was not just about winning a World Cup after 28 years - it was about proving to the world that we were the best cricketing unit there was in the world.

2011 was about exorcising the ghosts of 2007 - Several of the team members had survived that shock and for them it was about setting things right. 2007 was not a fair assessment of the team's potential and that could only be proved by winning the World Cup.

2011 above anything else was to exhibit that this team - this Indian team - was the toughest team there was in the World. Their rise to the top of rankings was not an accident but a result brought about by a set of individuals who refused to believe they could lose, who refused to see any writings on any wall and would fight to the very end.

And inevitably - this leads to a series of images and memories that I will cherish from this World Cup.

The first sign that we would win this world cup - or rather that we had it in us to face 3 knockouts and still stand tall - came not in a victory but in fact in the only loss we faced. Against South Africa - we had no business collapsing to 297 but more than that we had no business coming anywhere close to defending it against the batting of South Africa on a flat track. And yet that day the intensity was back. The bowlers were fired up, the fielders could do almost no wrong and we dragged it to a even stevens last over - which was ruined. But that happens and the fight and intensity shown by India was a sign of things to come.

Every match post that - it seemed at a stage we were out of every match we played. West Indies looked good to chase down our total - Zak brought us back in before everyone else went for the kill. The Australians snared 5 wickets - Yuvraj and Raina stared them down and refused to give up - to win it for us in an eventual canter

And Pakistan - when we looked set for 300, we started looking at 225 - when we were looking 225 - Raina took us to 260 - leaving enough for a fired up Indian attack to take us through. One of my most endearing memories will be the sight of a charged up Munaf Patel after bowling out Abdul Razzaq. You know a team is giving it everything i can when somebody as nonchalant and unenthusiastic as Munaf gets fired up like that. And yet again - it was that refusal to give up, the obstinate refusal to lose that took us through.

Man to man - with our bowling and fielding - our team does not stand up as the best in the world. Factor in attitude and the will to win, the belief to pull it off from any situation - and you have a champion team. Not champions who dominate from start to end, but champions who figure out a way to win by sheer force of will.

So even in a high pressure World Cup final at home , chasing 275 instead of the 240 that seemed more likely at 31/2 - there was every reason to back India to win. If Sehwag and Sachin fell, Virat, Gautam and Dhoni stood up. Just like in the matches gone past, somebody put their hands up, just like Ishant discovered he could be a defensive batting hero against Australia in tests - there always was someone who trusted and backed himself to bail the team out.

The enduring memory of the match - Dhoni almost boxing the wind out of Gambhir when he hi fived him. And the final 6 - complete with stone faced composure and stylish twirling of the bat.

We won - because we deserved to. We won - because we never believed any other result was possible. We won - because we refused to give in - at any stage in any match.

April 02, 2011 - Indian Cricket Team - Thank you! This is only the beginning.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Living the World Cup: Part2

The first World Cup I remember seeing live on a TV was the 1996 World Cup. I might have watched the 1983 and 1987 Cups but I have no recollection of them. The 1992 era was in a phase where I would have remembered matches if I had seen them but this was the era when cable TV had just about made its way in and we had not taken cable TV back then.

The memory I cherish the most from that World Cup - not difficult to guess at all - is the India Pakistan match at Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore. Having watched the India - England close tussle to desperately lose a match - played yet again from the Chinnaswamy was easily enough to bring back those memories.

Watching a good match then equated to sitting in front of the TV right from the start, ensure that there was enough Pepsi stocked in the fridge and settle down in for a nice long haul. That day the match started slowly, Sidhu and Sachin had a partnership and we trudged along towards a barely enough kind of score. Waqar was bowling missiles that day and had some obscenely good figures of 8 overs for 19 runs. Till Ajay Jadeja made his way to the pitch and played a knock that made him a legend. He launched into Waqar like no one else had that day and bludgeoned 40 odd runs off 19 balls. My voice decibels that had been lowish through the match, had suddenly found their way up. My cousin who had come over to watch the Indian inning with me - had dozed off while the match had meandered was woken up by those loud decibels and together we watched as Jadeja charged and pummeled Waqar and took us to a really comfortable 287. The win then was guaranteed right! Who chases 287 in 1996?

But this was not one of those days that I could settle down - sip my pepsi and watch the action unfold. There was some birthday party to attend in Khar. A social function - very insensitively scheduled to collide with a INDIA - PAKISTAN match. No that doesnt do justice to the occassion. IT WAS A INDIA - PAKISTAN WORLD CUP match and one had to attend a birthday. Oh well - sometimes you have to do the things that build character.

So i set off - put on my red jacket (In hindsight it was an atrocious colour - but for a class 8 me - it seemed fashionable. Why would I wear a jacket for a birthday party you ask? When one buys a jacket at that age for a cousin's wedding - the number of occasions it can be used are really numbered and every possible opportunity to strut that stuff is essential.) But I digress.

So - red jacket on - a transistor in the left pocket of that very red jacket - I set off for the party - the commentary my constant companion on the journey. The commentators even in those days used to have "Aur yeh laga Dabur Laal Dant Manjan Chauka" Unfortunately that line repeated it self several times as Anwar and Sohail made mincemeat of Prasad and Srinath.

Luckily I was not the only one at the party who was outraged that this was on while an important match was being played. And one of the elders there expressed his protest by getting with him a portable TV - which showed the match. It might now explain why while I remember all these details, I have no recollection of whose birthday party it was - as for most part of the party I was tagging along with the TV dude - watching the action. And when Sohail prodded Prasad and taunted him, Prasad bowled the most outstanding, the most awesome, the most effective rubbish-begging-to-be-hit-for-a-six ball that Sohail managed to cut on to his stumps and letting poor placid Prasad erupt with a string of expletives and the most wonderful usage of the 4 letter word I have seen yet.

Prasad became an instant hero. Mind you we were school kids at a stage where we were just about expanding our vocabulary and for him to stick it up to Sohail in such a way was a huge impact on our impressionable minds.

That moment turned the match around and we won an exciting match.

Fifteen years on - I had set out to my friends' place to watch the match with them. Having set out a little late - I was yet again on the road, missing out on the first 5 overs of play. This time though there was no transistor - GPRS on the phone had taken its place and I was kept updated of the score.

No longer was Pepsi an essential element in watching the match. No it was replaced by pints of beer. The match kept getting exciting - the decibel levels kept rising as Sachin bludgeoned Swann Black and blue (see how I tried a cheesy little pun there?). 338 on the board - cool this was going to be enough. Then Strauss decided to have our bowlers for supper and the intensity kept drooping, decibel levels low. Till Zak came back and restored the voice back to my throat.

Only to be denied by Piyush at the end. But Chinnaswamy had kept its date with exciting matches and given me yet another match to savor and enjoy. Clearly the more things change, the more they remain the same!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Living the World Cup

It was March of 2007 and I had landed in Dubai for my international training stint. The chauffeured car had driven me to the hotel room and it was fabulous - a bedroom, a kitchenette and a nice living room. The bedroom had a nice flat screen TV, the living room had one of those long swivel chairs that you could lie down on and watch another flat screen TV. It was indeed super comfortable. But the World Cup was soon coming - the first thought to mind was "WOW - lying on this chair and watching the matches! Man am I in for some fun or what?!"

Switching on the TV and a quick scan told me that the channel which would telecast the live cricket was not available. Another quick phonecall to the reception told me that they were not about to telecast that channel either. Needless to say the joy quickly turned to consternation. I tried to think up several options - get internet - watch streaming video - too expensive. Ask hotel to buy the channel - flat refusal. And finally there was only one way out - make my way to a bar - sit there, glug a couple of drinks and watch the matches. After all it was the World Cup and there was no way I was missing that!

It was then with great hope and excitement that I made my way to the closest bar that telecast the match - Double Decker. It was a fantastic sports bar - a large screen for live action and several small flat screens to watch the action. Of all these - there were only 2 TVs with the cricket. The rest had live Rugby. Nevertheless I made my way to one of the two cricket TVs and settled down to watch the first match India had to play. Bangladesh - this was going to be a breeze right? The menu arrived and the prices were prohibitive - I got myself a beer and decided to nurse it through the inning. The beer nursed me through the collapse. 190 odd and indeed we were in trouble.

It was time for dinner though - remember the prohibitive prices I spoke about? Yeah those prices meant that taking a cab to a cheaper restaurant and getting back to Double Decker was a cheaper option than having dinner at Double Decker. So I made my way in a cab. Cabs in Dubai are driven by South Asians almost as a rule. It was a Pakistani driver - the radio on - listening to Pakistan lose their second match in a row and bow out of the Cup. He promised me India would lose against Bangladesh and get out of the cup. In all my infinite optimism I laughed him off and went to the bar - hoping to see a stirring Indian bowling fight back. It wasnt to be.

I was still confident we would not bow down. Not this team. We would crush Bermuda and beat Sri Lanka and make it to the super 8s. Double Decker was still my partner in crime as I saw my team rack up 413 against the hapless Bermudians. When Dravid and Sachin walked off - they had a emotional mini-hug signifying just how much it meant to them to fight back and make the next round.

We were to play Sri Lanka - I was sure we would win. ANd this time I wouldnt watch it at Double Decker which had no Indians or Cricket followers to enjoy the game with. No this time I was off to Karama - the Indian section of Dubai, at an Indian run hotel where I could follow the match and cheer with fellow Indians. All i remember of that game is our weak capitulation, the image of Sachin's ugly crouch to that delivery from Dilhara Fernando cant be wiped out.

Today was part.1 of the payback process. I lay down in front of my TV - the sound routed through the surround sound music system. No compulsion to buy drinks I couldnt afford. No need to go hunting for cheap food. I was home and India was thumping Bangladesh. Vengeance was to be had and was.

The Indian team paid back today for one bad day in Double Decker in Dubai. Nothing short of winning this edition will pay for the second bad day against Sri Lanka in Dubai. The start is promising. Its the World Cup after all

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Second Chances ?

He was at the crossroads with the decision looming large. He could possibly not put it off any more. The choice had to be made. Would he follow his dream and go for the glory - to play cricket at the highest possible level - or would he take the other route and fade away into the sunset?

To be fair to him - he had taken his shot at international cricket. He even got a look-in, made an earnest effort but had failed to impress the selectors, who having taken a look at him had done what seemed like the right decision for them - dropped him. He had made half-hearted attempts to get back into the team but the selectors were too wise to let that happen.

And yet - he dreamed. Playing international cricket with this particular Indian team was the dream for him. It seemed unattainable, it seemed glorious, it seemed fulfilling, it seemed unreachable. Just like dreams should be. And yet while he had never yet realised that dream, he had seen others do it. Some were prodigiously more talented than him but some were simply more confident and had waltzed ahead to play.

He could basis his past failures and the lack of interest evinced by the selectors - give it up and take the lesser road. But some dreams were too precious to let go that easily, to let go without a full heart felt attempt at making it through. Failure might still be the most likely result and perhaps the selectors would still not be impressed and yet he might rest easier knowing his best was not enough. And that he had done all he could but the dream was just that - a dream!

To take a shot at his dream - it would mean that he would have to take risks. The risk of making a fool of himself, the risk of failing and the risk of feeling bummed. But sometimes in the long term - those risks might just be worth it.

He sat on, staring at the vacant space in front of him - his mind not yet made, pondering the crossroads, watching the time slip away. He needed to decide. What would you do if you were him?