Sunday, January 16, 2011

I may not remember Sachin for his 50 centuries but....

  No Indian can deny the fact he had a small tear at the corner of his eye when Sachin raised his bat after scoring the 50th century against South Africa. I don't think any other player would have invoked such a kind of feeling in us. The same man had raised his bat so many times and looked at the sky to thank his dad, yet this moment will remain with us for at least quite sometime. 

  Thousands of cricketing experts and analysts have talked a lot about Sachin, and I am not going to talk cricket now. I feel there is more than cricket which Sachin had offered to the country which makes him the supreme person of India.  India have had so many great cricketers, so many great sporting personalities, but still the name 'Sachin' gives a smile in our face. 

  There is no doubt that Sachin is one of the most watched faces in Indian television, the most watched in advertisements, the most in cricket channels. These occurrences can make one popular by catching people's attention, not necessarily gain respect. What makes Sachin so special wherein we simply cannot tolerate anybody talking against him even after a failure in a match.  Personally, I feel, it is not the things on field which Sachin is being revered for, it is the things happening off the field.

   The 2 instances in Sachin's career which I will never forget. It was a time in Maharashtra when the ant-North Indian sentiments were very high. When a question was put to Sachin on this, he replied: "Mumbai is for all Indians. I am a Maharashtrian, but  I am an Indian first.". Well, somebody at his level could have stayed away from these questions like Gilchrist or Hayden when asked about the crime on Indians in Australia, but not Sachin. The statement though hurt some politicos, made the entire country feel proud of the man they have been admiring day-in and day-out. The respect and admiration Sachin earned from this is no where near the joy the Indians got on his 50th century. The timing of the whole episode could not have been any better considering the tension prevailing across at that time.

  The second instance is in the recent past when Sachin had denied a 20 crore liquor endorsement offer. These are days when celebrities endorse any product beginning right  from the tooth paste in the morning.  Sachin denied this. Though this news came through the World Sports Group who maintains Sachin's endorsements, one of Sachin's close friends told the media why he denied the offer. He said: "Sachin has promised his dad he would never endorse the alcohol and tobacco products". Billion Indians watch him, millions of children watch his actions. What bigger a message one can give to a generation than this. A person may not listen to his dad, he may not live up to his words, but when his hero tells I do, the person thinks. For we Indians, if a person can make us think, trust me, we always look up to him.

 50 centuries to Sachin will make many people admire him, acts such as above make people worship him.   His on-field heroics could be great lessons for the next cricketing generations, however his off-field heroics are learnings for the whole nation. Sachin might hang up his boots with 60 Test centuries, but I will always remember him as a human being who always thought about the country first at every act of his. No wonder why Indians sit in the stadium with the banner: "Cricket is our religion, Sachin is our God".

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