|India grew up with them|
Greatness and Longevity at times co exist. When we talk of emperors, it is often the decades of their rule that comes to mind along with the frontiers conquered. Sports too throws up such emperors, some out of the blue while some in the methodical long run. We adore them. Salute them. Respect them. Idolize them. Pour accolades on them. And sometimes bestow on them the status of a demi-god. Indian cricket is in fact just that.
For an entire generation growing up, Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Anil Kumble, Virender Sehwag, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan have been the lights of hope. The torch bearers of it. An inspiration. The messiahs of a religion called ‘Cricket’. And above all Legends.
As Indian cricket is on the process of a revamp with the some of the seniors set to give way for the young blood, I just wondered the impact the afore mentioned players have had on the populace. For me, they are a part of the Golden generation that grew leaps and bounds and eventually took the team to the numero-uno status in test matches.
I’m sure most of you would be flabbergasted to see Sourav’s name in front of Sachin’s. I know some of you won’t be able to digest it. But wait. Let me clear the air.
In 2000, Indian cricket hit an all-time low as a result of the unscrupulous match fixing allegations. Scandals struck like fours and sixes. Heroes became villains. Nation’s proud sons pleaded guilty. Everything was in disarray. And Indian cricket like an infant didn’t know what to do. All it desperately needed was a Renaissance. It needed to rise like a phoenix. It needed Change. Yes, it now needed a leader, not just a captain to script it.
It was then that Sourav, popularly known as the “Dada’ took over the reins of captaincy ( no, no.. leadership). He was wary of the challenges. He was aware of the difficulties of playing abroad. He knew the mind games that were played. He knew the tasks that needed to be accomplished. And for that he knew he needed match winners.
For almost the entire decade of the 90s, India was Sachin and vice versa. When he clicked, we won and whenever he didn’t rarely did we win. So, that perception had to be changed and Ganguly knew it. And hence played a pivotal role in grooming the likes of Sehwags, Zaheers, Yuvrajs and Bhajjis. The term TEAM INDIA was born out of his visionary. So too was ‘Men in Blue’. Suddenly, there was this feeling of oneness, an urge to challenge the best in the business and moreover the caliber to effect a makeshift in the approach of being a subdued team to a fighting unit.
This decade also saw the run machine, Sachin pile up runs and rewrite record books with a boring regularity. There was hardly a year when he didn’t break a record. This was also the time when we were treated to batsmanship of the order the world never saw. The fab-4 turned out to be the pillars of batting. Centuries were scored with utmost ease, be it the Oval, Brisbane, Bloemfontein, or Sydney. A fast SLOW bowler from Karnataka was adding wickets to his kitty at a pace quicker than some of the fast bowlers of this team. Overseas wins in Trinidad, Headingly, Johannesburg, Auckland, Perth and Durban came like jack pots. And slowly came the numero-uno status in tests.
It was a Golden phase in Indian cricket and they are part of this golden generation. As the team has hit an all time low having lost seven overseas tests in the last six months, let us show some respite and do not go overboard in making comments like “ VVS is a disgrace, throw him out.. Dravid lacks technique, sack him..”, after all it is they who changed the fortunes of Indian cricket by playing the innings of their life in that epic Calcutta test of 2001. We celebrated the victories with them. Let us now face it, the defeats. Have a head to do it.
An Indian fan moves on.. with his heroes….. an eulogy to the golden generation….
|the Dada Army|
- A battle the Golden Generation has to win (thehindu.com)