– Satyakam Ray
18 Dec 2022- Lusail stadium and the rest of the world over their TVs were chanting only two things- Lio Messi and Vamos Argentina. That is one of the all-time great sporting spectacles in soccer history. A fitting crown was handed over to the GOAT of the game. In India, where cricket is the unwritten religion, the little master blaster Sachin is regarded as the god of cricket and received such an honor back in the day.
16 Nov 2013- The whole Wankhede stadium was chanting “Sachin Sachin,” Many sobbing emotional spectators cheering one Indian cricket legend was a masterpiece of a farewell party. The legend is Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar. The man carried Indian cricket for about 24 years on his shoulders to the most significant height. Known for his extraordinary performances and 100 centuries, the little master blaster is the person all the 90s kids looked up to while growing up.
Back then, the only channel available on TV was Doordarshan (DD) which broadcasted international cricket matches. When India was playing with any other country, the whole of India’s work efficiency dropped as everyone was glued to the TV to watch Sachin bat. Why did only India, the famed Indian-Americans, do the same? Ask Barack Obama about that!? As 90s kids, we bunk schools or tuition classes to watch Sachin. Such was the craze of the little man; whenever he got out, the TVs in the households were shut down.
In India, cricket as a religion grew in the 90s. Sure, the IPL is on the rise, and a lot of money and humdrum are going on at these events. But the genuine admiration and godly status of cricketers made the path in fans’ minds back in the 90s when Sachin used to play. After winning the world cup in 1983, India needed one superstar to revive cricket’s popularity. Sachin was the person who did it after Gavaskar and Kapil dev.
1998- The year of Sachin’s brilliance and best form helped him to amass a record calendar year run and most centuries. Ask any 90s kid; he will remember the duel between late legendary leg spinner Shane Warne and Sachin Tendulkar. Warne used to have dreams in the night where Sachin hit him for sixes! Australians and the world also respected Sachin for his brilliant career and humble nature.
The most number of runs and centuries in test cricket speaks volumes about a sportsperson’s caliber. In his illustrious career, Sachin scored 100 centuries across all formats. A record that’s most likely unbroken unless Virat Kohli shows consistency. Sachin scored the first-ever double-century in one-day cricket. His contemporaries Brian Lara, Steve Waugh, Ricky Ponting, and Jack Kallis have graced cricket with extraordinary performances and records. Still, they all regard Sachin as one of the bests who played the game.
Former cricketer turned Politician Navjot Singh Sidhu’s testimony of Sachin’s brave batting against the fiery Pakistani bowling lineup back in the 1989 tour showed the spine of Sachin. After being wounded by a Waqar Younis bouncer, the bleeding Sachin told Sidhu in a calm, focused voice, “me, Khelega.” And the next ball was a straight boundary opposite Waqar’s end! Such was the conviction and willpower of the god of cricket.
Speaking about the impact of Sachin on 90s kids, Virat Kohli, the chase master in modern cricket, is the perfect example. Virat comes from the generation of boys who grew up watching cricket on TV and tried to emulate Sachin in every possible way. In the 90s, every kid wanted to be the next Sachin. The fabulous cover drive and a scoop of Sachin are still a treat to watch. Every household in India was a breeding ground for an aspirational cricketer, Courtesy Sachin Tendulkar. Even in bantering among friends, Sachin’s “Aila” more often used to come. While taking a stance before facing the ball, Sachin used his typical “Aila” posture. We, as kids, tried to mimic that posture a lot. Nowadays, Aila is a meme.
The one quality that makes Sachin unique among 90s kids that his supernatural ability, cricketing brilliance, illustrious career, and, most importantly, his humility. Despite the considerable success, fame, and money, Sachin remained the humblest cricketer on and off the field. His persona, behavior, and ever-smiling face remained the same throughout his career. He never showed emotions like anger and frustration on the pitch and always behaved nicely. Barring a few odd controversies, Sachin never played rough and respected the spirit of the gentleman’s game.
As 90s kids, we learned much from this gentleman and got inspired. The records he made someday will be broken. Someone else may come along to replace his cricketing throne. But among the 90s kids, there is only one Sachin, which will remain forever. Because cricket is our religion, and Sachin is sachin.