Vantage point

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Return of the King

Sachin Tendulkar is back. Did I say he is back? I meant he is BACK! The difference is a lot more than the one between uppercase and lowercase. When I say "back", I mean that he has recovered from the tennis elbow injury which kept him out of the game for months. When I say "BACK", I mean that he has recovered from the weird injury to his confidence/self-esteem/self-assessment which had made him a shadow of his self over the last two seasons.

When Tendulkar got out on 93 today, like his numerous fans, I too was disappointed that he missed out on a well-deserved century. But the disappointment paled in comparison to the elation I felt at the manner of his dismissal. It was great to see Tendulkar, in the nineties, going for a cover drive off the front-foot, and getting caught behind the wicket. That's the way a King should fall in battle. A King should not fall in the battle while he is retreating, or defending. What separates a King from the soldiers is his staunch belief that he is divine and infallible. Many Kings are considered Gods by their subjects. But for that, first the Kings must consider themselves Gods. Tendulkar, an undisputed King of cricket, had off late started thinking he was not King, but some democratically elected office-bearer. The King who would once charge at rival Kings with just a sword in his hand, now started doing cautious battle with rival foot-soldiers, one hand firmly gripping the shield.

Today the King showed up without the shield. He wielded his trusted sword, and he stepped on the battlefield. He swept aside foot-soldiers like Maharoof, Fernando, etc. He went after the enemy Kings - Vaas and Muralidharan. And though he did not really smite them, it was pleasure watch him duel on an equal footing, like a King, without his shield. He eventually fell to a foot-soldier, but by then the enemy was in retreat.

All hail the return of the King