Most people would pronounce the ‘to be hanged till death’ verdict for me, simply on reading the header of this article…and I would not blame them. Every die hard cricket fan in India has been eagerly waiting for the upcoming World Cup as this is probably the best chance ever for an Indian cricket team to lay its hands on the coveted trophy since Kapil’s Devils did the unthinkable to etch their names in history over 27 years ago.
The team that won in 1983 had plenty of players with huge potential but still nobody gave them a chance, given India’s dismal record in the previous editions of the 50-over tournament.
The present outfit, with an enviable batting and bowling line-up and tremendous home support to cheer them on, looks to be the strongest contenders to win the quadrennial competition.
I too, like millions of other die hard cricket lovers of the country, want the tri-colour to flutter proudly at Wankhede Stadium on April 2. Yet, another side in me does not want India to win…it is the side that loves Little Master Sachin Tendulkar more than the game itself.
People who follow the game closely would realise that although the master batsman is in the best form of his life, he cannot continue to play forever. With the international cricket calendar getting packed by the passing day, Sachin will sooner or later have to give up on one format of the game to prolong his international career.
Over the years, Sachin has created and broken every record in the book. And possibly the only thing that keeps him going in one day internationals is the desire to lead the team to the ultimate glory of winning the World Cup. Once that wish is fulfilled, it is most likely that the God of cricket will bid adieu to the shorter version.
Having grown up watching Sachin tear apart the best of bowling attacks in the world, I can’t imagine him not being a part of the Indian set-up even if it is in just one of the formats.
Watching him smash two hundreds on successive days against the mighty Aussies and single-handedly leading India to the Sharjah Cup victory can still provide an extreme high to cricket lovers and inspire many a future stars.
Sachin’s record-breaking innings of 200 against South Africa at Gwalior can top any of the best of his efforts in the longer format of the game.
Where will that high come from once the swash-buckling batsman decides to hang up his boots? Who will inspire younger generations to play the game in the right spirit? What will be the point of even watching a cricket match without Sachin Tendulkar?
That is the only reason why I do not want India to win the World Cup. Perhaps I am being selfish by putting self ahead of the country. But, when it comes to emotions sometimes even patriotism has to take the back seat. Please forgive me for that…