<This post was featured on www.unboxedwriters.com on April 2, 2011. This was just before India played the final of the Cricket World Cup>
Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar has waited for today for more than two decades and more. So have we. Here is probably the last chance that he has at cracking this one. As soon as the semi-finals clash with Pakistan was over, the whole stadium lit up with Sachin’s smile. He was truly and genuinely happy at that instant. We all know that this means a lot to him and here are a few of my thoughts on why today could be THE day for arguably India’s greatest sportsman ever. And why I think he deserves to be a world champion today.
1. At the semi-finals we saw the angry Sachin, when one of his throws almost became an overthrow; since no one backed it up. That shows how much and how badly he wants it. This “hunger for success” is something worth learning from.
2. He walked. In a World Cup! Ricky Ponting didn’t, inspite of a huge nick. Sachin’s actions often remind us that it is still a “Gentleman’s Game”!
3. The way he has fielded in this World Cup is excellent motivation for the youngsters on the side. Sachin rarely drops a catch. He fields even on days when he has hit a century in the first innings of an ODI.
4. He doesn’t have ego issues and is not insecure about Dhoni being the captain and taking the major decisions. He sticks to his role and does what is expected of him without meddling with Dhoni’s mind.
5. He is happy to let Sehwag hog the limelight, while he slowly paces his innings. What a brilliant strategy of symbiosis and collaboration. It is a great case study of how aggression combined with strategy can take you places.
6. A century of centuries is a great achievement. And will probably never be beaten anytime! You can argue that Bradman was better, but he played in an era where LBW did not exist and he played primarily against England, India, South Africa and West Indies. Sachin has played against a dozen!
7. He is a brand ambassador for Boost and not a liquor brand. The latter would have paid him more money, but he took a stand.
8. Sure, the cynics say that cricket is a game for the escapists, is a waste of time and money. But tell me who other than Tendulkar can get people from all religions/castes/creeds and across all stratas of society to come and pray together for a shared dream?
9. Facing intense media scrutiny for two decades can drive anyone nuts. But the man has managed it so well without getting dragged into controversies or politics.
10. Finally Tendulkar (the bowler) has more than 150 ODI wickets to his credit, which is more than decent and adds value to the team.
So the big day for the man has arrived. One just hopes that India’s favorite son gets the one thing that he has desired most. The World Cup deserves Sachin.