I know you’ll be hurt with the way team India performed in the recent World Cup. We fell just two steps short of repeating the 2011 success. But even though our team performed so well, I somehow feel that I have lost the connect which I used to have in 2011. I don’t feel bad any more when someone switches the channel while the match is going on.
This is not true that the India team is not scoring runs or our batting is collapsing like a castle of cards. Our team is doing very well and we are putting up huge totals on the board as well as defending small totals as well. But something is missing under the shade of these excellent performances. It is something which scorecards or results would not be able to reflect upon. The missing link in your absence, Sir. Without you, Indian cricket is a body without a soul.
“India is batting” are the three words that have always been the reason why most Indians skip their schools, offices and everything else. Not only this, just to catch a sight of Indian openers smashing bowlers all across the park, most of us are ready to freeze our work and concentrate on the screen.
As a cricket fan that grew up watching cricket, it was immensely disheartening not be able to see my childhood hero on the cricketing field. But it is even more disappointing to see the baton being handed over to the next savior fall. I have no doubts about the talent and quality of our openers and I am also aware of the fact that our openers have scored heavily last year. They are indeed great but they fail to create the aura which you carried.
Cricket, as they say, is played in mind before on the field and you were the testimony of this saying. You had some magic power to hijack the mind of the bowler and intimidate them, even before they bowled a delivery to you. The fleshy economy rates statistics of the bowlers only show the damage done by you to the bowlers.
The world stills have fond memories of your mammoth 309 against Pakistan in Multan and savage 319 against South Africa in Chennai. The visuals of your lightning-fast 195 in Melbourne and the ODI double hundred in Indore still flash before my eyes.
Through your calm yet destructive approach have attracted a lot of admirers to you but it is also important to remember the times when you played handy cameos which set-up the base for wins, those crucial catches in the slips, those boundaries in the first over which brought the bowlers under pressure in the very first over. The credit of flouting all the textbook rules likes “You must have good footwork”, “A boundary for the over is enough” and many more goes to you. It would be exaggerating to say that countless Indian wins happened because you were there at the top.
Also, I would be lying if I would say that you were perfect because you were not. As die heart Sehwag fans, we were disappointed too. There were times when didn’t want you to give away your wicket so easily. Your bad times with a string of bad scores where you gave away the wicket just like that made us go mad at you.
But then after few long breadths, one thought always popped in our minds that being your fan is synonymous with loving this unpredictable nature of your game – maybe this is what made it possible for you to play such special innings.
Those glorious uppercuts while murmuring old Hindi songs of Kishore Kumar in a typical Sehwag way are very much young and fresh in our memories.
A Viru fan.