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And when he said,”Its time to hang up my boots”, one knew that Cricket is going to be less-charming and less-dazzling in the days to come. The romantics always rated him the, ’Artist’. When he bats, he gives us a feel as if we were in a Ghazal. When he plays his shots, it seemed he never wanted to hurt the ball. The willow like Federer’s racquet was his magic wand. But, what is it with these Hyderabadi batsmen and their sinuous wrists? Mohd.Azharuddin used to nonchalantly clip the ball past midwicket. VVS, having seen Azhar as a teenager from close quarters made the flick-of-the-wrists a shot of his own.
The Page-one of my cricket diary will ALWAYS be ‘281-Calcutta’ no matter if Virender Sehwag goes on to smash two more triple tons at a frenetic pace. I wonder how it was for that 70000 odd Calcutta crowd to witness an epic being scripted in front of them. Eden Gardens was on its feet, so too was Tony Greig in the commentary box and so too were millions of Indians who captured these moments on TV. The Aussies gazed in admiration. Good buddy Dravid too was playing the innings of his life and yet was over shadowed. 180 against the best attack in the world in a seemingly hopeless situation and many say, he played *second-fiddle* well. I thought, this game could get cruel on you at times….
So much has happened over the last 16 years. The birth of a new millennium, a dozen of Olympic medals by our athletes, two global economic crises, half a dozen of multi-crore scams and so on. I’ve changed too. From being this quiet toddler to a charged teenager and to facing the harsh realities of adulthood, life’s changed. But, from 1996 , cricket to me was all about the Gangulys, Tendulkars, Dravids, Kumbles, Laxmans and lately the Harbhajans, Sehwags, Yuvrajs and Zaheers. everyone driven by the resolve of taking Indian cricket forward.
‘Adieu’ is such a cruel word. But such is life. Every journey has its end; every marathon has the cross-line. VVS’s has indeed been a special journey. The fact that there were as many tribute columns in Australian newspapers as there were in the newspapers here, shows the kind of admiration and respect he got from his opponents. He wouldn’t have signed on many endorsement deals but VVS is a brand which will help the Indian cricket grow richer. The footages of those centuries at Eden Gardens and Sydney Cricket Ground, those match-winning knocks at Kingsmead, Waca, Mohali and Chennai must be played in all the cricket academies. Thank you VVS. You too, like your fellow legends Ganguly, Kumble and Dravid, will never retire from our hearts. You came, fought, dragged us into the fight(like how you dragged Ishant Sharma into the battle at Mohali) and mesmerized us. Thank you for 16 years of beautiful memories!!!! An Indian Cricket fan sadly, moves on………
- Rajdeep Sardesai: Laxman is an all-time great (cricketnext.in.com)