Wednesday, November 17

The Heart in Mouth Affliction- a seduction

Since I can remember watching the man bat, he had the genius like knack of batting exactly the way he wished, the uncanny ability to pick gaps and shots and the unwitting penchant of causing not a few minor heart attacks. I spent countless days watching with bated breath and crossed fingers while Sachin Tendulkar batted. He drove, pulled, slashed and heaved 80 percent of the deliveries he faced. It was batting with little fear, the desire to dominate and the seeming disdain of risk. It was, naturally, edge of the seat stuff. Except if you were an Indian fan (or me-a crazy fan) there was the perpetual chance that you would actually fall off your seat, and notice your bruises only once you had recovered from the dejection of the great man’s dismissal- which would be sometime the next day.

Watching Sachin bat then was the curious and exhilarating mix of not being able to pull your eyes away and not wanting to watch, at the same time. His batting lived on the edge, and many a heartbeat would skip as the precarious balance was maintained, just about. This was the brilliance of the man, and coupled with his statistical consistency, it was what made him a great in my eyes. In fact, a hero.

Yet, before this sounds like he has retired, let me say that he is no less a hero to me today. Sachin has changed his batting style over the last few years, and the difference has been spoken about, written about, thought about and debated upon endlessly. I don’t want to go into the philosophy behind his change here (or what I think is his thinking), but I am quite sure it has not been the decline in ability. Couple this change in approach with the increased ability of the Indian batting lineup, and you had a situation where you thought you missed the all out attacking style, not so much.

At Mumbai’s second innings and briefly in Kolkata against Pakistan, SRT showed flashes of the past. There were fleeting glimpses of the desire to dominate, to not just make runs but make dents on the opposition psyche. That both efforts were relatively short lived is another case altogether. Yet, both innings showed an intent that had been missing for some time now. The conservative approach was replaced by an aggression in the mind that brought back long lost doses of shut-eye excitement, goose bumps and anxiety.

It brought back memories of the ailment every SRT fan, every Indian had to helplessly enjoy/suffer every time the little fellow was at the crease. As I watched the determination with which he strode around the crease on Saturday, subtle but certain symptoms of the said weakness showed themselves. I had almost let slip how nerve racking it was. And consequently, the fall was harder when he was run out, trying to get the strike again. But briefly, I had been allowed to flirt with the Heart in Mouth Affliction again, and now I can’t wait for more.
You think I will get some more?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yeah I know the feeling exactly. When he used to bat in his aggro fashion, I was half hoping that he would get off strike - so that he wouldn't get out and terminate the innings. At the same time, I wanted him to go out there and hit every second ball for six - an amazing dichotomy of expectations that I am sure millions more had of him. Well, he met all of those expectations and more.

Ze rambler