The God of Small Beings

Many cricket fans would say that the Maya calendar was not wrong after all. It just missed the mark by two days. Instead of 21st December, 2012, the world ended on 23rd, as Sachin Tendulkar quit One Day cricket.

Called the most complete batsman of the era, he quit as the highest run getter in the 50-over format, by miles. The domination can be estimated by the fact that next three in the highest runs list have already retired and the one nearest to him and still playing has scored not even two thirds of the runs yet. Some sport stats remain etched in memory for long. Like Don Bradman’s average of 99.94, the run total of 18,426, 49 centuries and 23-long playing years will continue to amaze sport fans. Yet, sport is not about mere statistics.

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God in the Parliament

When Abraham Lincoln defined democracy as ‘government of the people, by the people, for the people’, little did he know that one day, ‘God’ himself will be a part of the government. Of course, I am not talking about Church being powerful in entire Europe at some point of time, or Nepali monarchy’s fascination of being labeled as incarnation of Lord Vishnu.

It’s about the ‘God’ of cricket, Sachin Tendulkar. And him being nominated to the upper house of Indian parliament, Rajya Sabha…

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We Will Wait !

“Don’t whisper a word. The whole worldwill be able to hear you. Wankhede is stunned into silence. Rampaul spoils theparty, Sammy holds the catch at second slip.”
Perhaps obituaries would soundcomparatively pleasant to some cricket fans. The lines appeared on ESPNCricinfoweb portal, as Sachin Tendulkar departed without scoring what could have been his100th international century – just one-hit-over-the-boundary shortof it. As many firsts that the man has pocketed, this would be another first in the history of the game.
The dreaded words appeared: ‘SRTendulkar c Sammy b Rampaul 94’. At little under 140 kmph, this may not be the best ball West Indian pacer Ravi Rampaul might have bowled, but certainly willbe the most memorable for him.

Of Departure and Arrival

“I reallyrespected him” – This remark may neither raise eyebrows nor would itregister very strongly on anyone’s mind. But if you know that it was SachinTendulkar making such a remark, you would stick to the word ‘really’ and startadmiring the person, whoever the great batsman is referring to.
Tendulkar wasreferring to Former Indian captain MansoorAli Khan Pataudi, who passed away on 22nd of September 2011. Itwould be interesting to know that Tendulkar was barely a 2-year old whenPataudi played his last International match. It needs sheer genius in a personto earn respect, in the heart of a cricketer who started playing seriouscricket, a decade after he had retired.
Most of us, who have grown in the constant shower of cricket, justbecause we are close to India, have heard of him. Hardly a few have seen himplay. Yet we know of him. Probably, among the cricketers who played before thetelevision era, he was the only icon that we knew, with the exception of Sir DonBradman and Great Garry Sobers. Not many can boast to have such a longshelf-life after retiring, something most sportsmen would envy.

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Full stop for Fed Express? Maybe not

And the Fed Express crashed, after going 2 sets up, for the first time in 179 Grand Slam matches he’s played. The Muhammad Ali look-alike – although a much softer and more erratic version – Jo-Wilfried Tsonga did the unthinkable, stopping clocks and hearts at 4:24 PM on Centre Court on Wimbledon.
Tim Henman, who carried the British torch (read the lone hope) at the Wimbledon towards the turn of the century, had tipped Roger Federer to win the title this time around. The logic was, Federer has become more carefree with age. And that would help him take more risk and kill the opponents. Alas! Henman’s prediction missed just as his volleys did at the Wimbledon’s 4 semi-finals. 

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Four years after

And the World Cup has begun. It is four years after the almighty Aussies conquered the Caribbean, making it three cups in a row – exerting the dominance never ever seen in cricket ever. It is four years after, we searched for a team Australia would meet in the final. And four years after, we see that the Cup is wide open, up for grabs for at least four top teams, if they can manage consistency throughout the month and half long celebrations.
But there are deeper questions that surround the ICC’s 49-match, 43-day, 13-venue event, this time around. Yes, it is being organized in the biggest money collecting bowl for cricket in the world – the subcontinent we are a part of. Yes, it is perhaps the last time we’d see the two of the best batsmen of our times – Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting, playing in multi-nation tourney. But this is also a time where ODI format is being questioned, for its worth, especially in the wake of the T20 onslaught.

A fan’s wishlist for 2011

Abraham Lincoln once said, “And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” As a year comes to an end, and another starts, it’s time to take stock of the year gone by, and a time to figure out what we want in another that has just started.
For sports fans, it’s always about how many trophies their teams win, rather than how many matches they play. One bronze medal in Asian Games, added to a fifth place finish in South Asian Games is not what Nepali fans dream of. They want more, especially when Afghanistan, the latest entrant to SAG is breathing down our neck.
So what would a sports fan wish for, in the coming year? Brighter medal tallies, more efficient sport management and teams that would scare the opposition? 11 items from the wishlist of a sport fan for 2011:

Joy Forever

Sachin Tendulkar scored his 50th century in Test matches this week. The news made headlines. Of course, the feat deserved it. At one point of time, say only a decade or two ago, it was way beyond anybody’s comprehension that a tally of 50 could ever be reached, especially that modern day cricket was getting more and more competitive. Those who wrote on cricket then would talk of 30s as a benchmark; none could even think that half a century of centuries could actually be accomplished.
So the feat was definitely special, worth printing in gold. But for fans it was something even more. It was an end to their wait, for they were waiting for the genius to reach there. As if some divine being had told them, this is a part of their pre-planned journey – watching Sachin making history.

The Year that Was!

And finally, this year (2009) comes to an end. At one point, yours truly thought this might never come to an end at all, rather the year 2009 would continue till eternity, maybe even surpassing the ‘doomsday’ announced sometime in 2012. But then every good thing comes to an end – and rather surprisingly, bad ones last too, albeit longer – and this one had to bid goodbye too.
However, this year has been a notable one, for yours truly, and he is sure, as he always is (whether it’s about his buffoonery or somebody else’s), it would have been similar, if not the same, for you too. For this has been the year when entire Nepal was more interested in the exact site, setting and semantics of mole on Namrata Shrestha’s parts-in privy (as it should have been) than it was on how to walk to office (or back) in case some nincompoop party announced a bandh at its whim.