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Sachin smiles, whole country smiles……..

A two and a half minute interview with Sachin Tendulkar from the dugout during the match, and whole nation forgot, maybe just for the time being, about the ongoing “spot-fixing”/”betting” row with this year’s IPL. Last two weeks, fans were compelled to keep themselves abreast with the updates happening with this matter, even though they didn’t want to think in such a way about their favorite sport. But as they say “Man proposes and God disposes”, Sachin delivered a memorable moment which made us all believe that the game is clean. Such is the impact this great player has on the fans and on the game that it is hard to believe that the same game which this idol plays is being tainted by the greedy needs to few unmindful characters.

It was amazing to watch his excitement while he was speaking to Harsha Bhogle from the Mumbai Indians’ dugout, his purity towards the game easily evident. The enthusiasm with which he was getting involved in that conversation marked the moment of this IPL for one and all, including the CSK fans who were playing the finals against the team which Sachin represented. The childlike twinkle in his eyes, the candid responses, the same unique shrill voice, all of these indicators of how much the game means to him, even at this age, even after being named as the greatest the game has ever produced, even after winning all possible team titles in his career. It didn’t matter whether he was on the field or missing the game due to an injury, the enjoyment that reflected out of him was unparallelled to his stature in the game.

This IPL has lots of antics of various players, domestic and international alike. We had the trademark “gangman” from Chris Gayle, and a less likely and surprising one from Adam Gilchrist; “the pacifier” celebration of Darren Sammy, and a reactive celebration of a similar kind from cool and calm Brad Hodge; we had the purple cap holder Dwanye Bravo’s wicket taking celebration shaking his leg; “getting under the skin” celebration after stunning catches from Kieron Pollard; new version of the gangman, the “bhangman” by Bhajji and the list of antics this season go on and on. But at the end of the day, what marked the most cherished moment of this IPL was the smiling face of Sachin Tendulkar while he was miked up during the match. Most of us would agree to the fact that these are the moments make us follow this gentleman’s game like a religion. There is a large section of the fans which doesn’t enjoy the IPL under the pretext that all the games being rigged, even that section forgot their conspiracy theories when they saw Sachin speaking.

With the official word out that he is going to hang his boots for the IPL and won’t be playing the next season while the Mumbai Indians’ attempt to defend their title, it was hard to believe for the fans that the time had finally come.

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