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The Alpha and The Omega

I am not God.

— Sachin Tendulkar, April 16, 2001

I was winding down work on a regular evening; but I remained glued to my desk following the match on Cricinfo — till the little master got out, disappointingly, before making a century. Nothing remarkable about that, really. Except that I’ve been repeating that pattern in one way or another for most of my conscious life. As Sachin became the leading run-scorer in Test cricket today and crossed 12000 Test runs, I thought it’d be a good time to get back to some blogging.

I’ve watched many cricket matches, and seen my share of written up slogans in the crowd. But the only one I can remember is one which said, “Cricket is religion, Sachin is God”. And yes, every time I watch or follow a Sachin innings, there’s that hope, that expectation, often that certainty, that greatness is about to reveal itself.

There are many great batsmen. Ricky Ponting is a prolific scorer who can attack any bowling with brutal force. Brian Lara’s unforgettable flair and flourish with the bat is unmatched. Rahul Dravid carves his runs out of sheer willpower and pure technique. Sachin, however, emanates runs. At his best, they seem to come not from technique or force or manufactured shots but out of a nothingness, a fountainhead that leads one to the sneaky suspicion that he can somehow bend the fabric of reality.

And on days like today, when he seems unstoppable in his element, he brings to his fans the pure, unencumbered joy that has endeared him to millions from Manchester to Mohali. After all, when God needs to fly, He doesn’t invent airplanes. He merely suspends gravity.