The name says it all.

I grew up epitomizing you, you were my Guru and inspiration outside family. You are not just a Cricket player, much more to the country as a sportsmen and so much more to millions like me as a Superstar, Master and God.

My childhood was a bouquet of your batting. Your fifties, hundreds and double hundreds used to be my bread and butter. As swashbuckling innings from you would keep the smile intact on my face for days to come and even your 20s and 30s would make me cheer like a kid with inexplicable toys in hand. My scrap books were all you, you were more important than my academics, you were my only reason to get up and watch a cricket match with Chicken pox. Eden, Lords or MCG – doesn’t matter, I will watch the game as long as I see you coming in to bat.

Your batting was my soul, you being in the 11 was good enough reason for me to watch the entire match including the commentary that talks about your replays. Your presence in the field meant adrenaline unlimited for me and the team. You are my ‘Bahubali’ plus ‘The Dark Knight’.
You were Sachin and for me, your name gave me goosebumps.

Your cover drives made me topple with joy, your flick was my life’s sweetest menace, your on drive was a delight to savor and your straight drive made me go crazy. It was not the strokes that made me fall in love with you, it was ‘You’ and the batting in ‘You’ that made all the difference in a world of meandering cricketers. ‘Sachin’ isn’t a name for me, you were my lifeline.

I remember most of your epics, your test centuries, your ODI gems, your World Cup exploits in 1996 and 2003. Your debut, your birthday, your first ODI century – some of the very few dates I remember in my life outside family. For me, they are not dates. They remind me of your legend, your batting, your iconic aura and the magic of God.
As Harsha aptly said – ‘Absolutely Divine’.

I yelled at my mother as I was extremely upset over your dismissal in the 2003 WC final and my mother has still not forgiven me for my innocent burst of anger. At that point, I and India were shut down. And that’s an usual behavior towards any of your dismissals because I never believed that you can fail. And, you taught me to succeed.

Your discipline is a subject of awe for me. Your humility stuns me, your simplicity is contagious and your aura inspires me.

Cricket is still being played, we still have superstars and the game is still very popular.

But, for me, there will never be another Sachin.
And, since, Cricket has never been the same for me.

As the planet says, Happy Birthday!

Yes, It died long back. But, every time I see a West Indies collapse and the repercussions of ‘The Fall of Giants’ does the round in a vehement bout of passion and cricketing folklore.

As India trounced the Windies in their backyard in the ongoing series, I withstood a gamut of emotions and cricketing history that’s embedded in a sorry state of affairs. Yes, I am particularly impressed with the way India has scored a thumping victory under the KK leadership – Kohli and Kumble. But at the same time, I see how devastated Cricket stands in the islands of the Caribbean.

Yes, I keep reinstating that I believe in legacy. Legacy is an opportunity to keep your glory days alive and withstand the sheer passion – as an individual and as a country to relive the memories of astounding feats and exploits of a superpower. Sadly, West Indies have lost both. I am not ready to believe that the current crop of players and administration don’t know their history – 2 big men were part of the mighty West Indies, way back then and I can see their heads sever in shame. Joel Garner and Courtney Walsh. Apparently, the last test match was played on Viv Richards turf – his expression of agony and reparation was inconveniently visible in his statement to Telegraph after the Indian victory.

Let’s have a massive throwback. In the 60s and 70s, England and Australia were pepping up with some serious fast bowling. Fast bowling with real pace. I vividly remember couple of videos from the fast bowling machines of the era and it will gives you a riveting display of what the batsman had to encounter those days. West Indies stuck venom with their ‘Fearsome Foursome’ and fast bowling was never the same gain. Spells from Jeff Thomson and Michael Holding will make the fast bowlers of our generation look like kindergarten – with all due respect, we must admit that quality fast bowling has seen dispersing decline over the years.

A mere look at the West Indies line up in the 70s and 80s will tell us why they were masters of the game. The bandwagon opens up with Haynes and Greenidge, you luckily dismiss them and you will see Llyod and Viv Richards follow through. Jeff Dujon could keep and bat as well, that makes him an allrounder. The bowling department is handled by Andy Roberts, Joel Garner, Michael Holding and Malcolm Marshall. A god send team with phenomenal abilities. A team that could post imposing totals, chase herculean scores and take 20 wickets in a test match consistently. Individual brilliance, yes. But, it was a menacing team that ran havoc for more than 15 years in world cricket. Remember, I am not even talking about the Sobers era, phew! 

Even in the days of Lara led Windies, they still possessed a valuable team but never had the steel to win matches or even come close to what their predecessors achieved in 2 decades.

The decline of West Indies is largely attributed to multiple factors. Legacy needs to be nourished and bought up by able hands. West Indies came a cropper as they decided to bask in their undisputed glory but failed to build an empire on their imperious past. Plus, their problems with the administration and governance have only multiplied. Despite former greats like Clive Llyod, Richie Richardson and Joel Garner at the helm, motivation levels have been a pale shadow of what the West Indies were known for. 

‘Fire in Babylon’, the docu-drama on the mighty West Indies story is a revelation. When the world was battling issues on racism and dominance in a paranoia of diverse communities, West Indies and Cricket were a lethal combination. Their dominance over the game came from 2 factors – discrimination and passion. It tells a poignant story of perhaps the greatest fall from glory in any team sport in the world. It’s a pity that West Indies now only have their T20 victories and IPL exploits to rave about.
I am not sure if West Indies will ever redeem even a semblance of their glory days. But their story and subsequent fall from grace is a lesson for other teams. Times change, teams change, game changes but passion can never die. Passion is human and sports is all about human resilience. Yes, we like our teams to win but we equally admire a team that goes down fighting like a wounded lion hungry for glory.

There is no joy in lawn tennis if we take Wimbledon out from the equation. Ever since my growing years, my dearness for ‘The All England Club’ has only intensified – even though am not the same avid youngster who used to wait for 3rd of June to come soon. Especially, after witnessing all the faltering in the land of clay. There is a sublime reason to it as well, since players and spectators have unanimously shown their fondness for the green.


I am more of a classic guy and love history, more significantly since the game, players and their aura keep changing. I developed a keen sense of interest in the adulation this venue garnered for the sport in itself. The open era remained, quite oblivious, to our generation but the achievements and the glory was read, grasped, admired. Rod Laver, for example. Players, great players, finesse players, star players. They will come and go but we will always remember the ones who were lucky enough to lift the gorgeous trophy in Centre Court, kiss them, kiss them again, keep kissing them, stand for the media and press, then take a lap of victory before the sun goes down.

A major throwback – Boris Becker’s first in 1985 as ‘Boom Boom’ Becker and his shock upset in 1987 by Peter Doohan. The cool, suave Stefan Edberg and the art of ‘Serve & Volley’, Agassi – the fighter and the best return of serves in the game. Sampras’s straight second title beating Goran Ivanisevic – scoreboard read 7-6,7-6,6-0. Ivanisevic’s first and only Grand Slam victory as a wild card entrant, the iconic rivalry between Sampras and Agassi. The charm of Gabriela Sabatini, class of Steffi Graf and resilience of Monica Seles.

This is the Wimbledon story I was possessed and grew up with. The game evolved since then, is less of grace and more of power. But with modern greats like Federer, Rafa and Djokovic, the art of tennis is always blooming with enormous talent and the promise of keeping the art alive.

Who will conquer 2016? Let’s wait, watch and enjoy the moments that encapsulate on the green grass.

When I heard the news of Ali’s passing away, this is what struck me – Boxing was a sport then when he used to play it. Well, that sums it up. Muhammad Ali for me, was one of the greatest sportsman who bought glory to perhaps the ugliest and nastiest game in our sporting history. Rest, I don’t want to know. Rest, as they say, is history.
Prudently, I am not a big devotee of the sport itself, have never been. Boxing for me, is Raging Bull and Rocky Balboa. I watched a glimpse of his heydays in the documentary, ‘Facing Ali’. Honestly, I have never ventured beyond the cinematic versions of the sport that itself is on its way to redemption. But, I know who Muhammad Ali is. I always did.

Influential people have always inspired me. I look up to them for achieving the glorious applause of life, and their way of conducting themselves towards the pinnacle of life gets my adrenaline flowing. Muhammad Ali is perhaps, and quite courageously, the man of the moment.

He doesn’t belong to my generation, he retired from the sport when I was at the peak of infancy. The sport he played and conducted himself in is a dying art today. But Ali has been a patriarch of the sport itself that possesses very few superstars – am leaving out the self-acclaimed ones for a different chapter. Yet, the fact that Ali stood out in my memories through history and my education of sports is in itself, an enormous tribute to his stature.

Muhammad Ali has been a saga of adverse episodes and staggering accomplishments. His emergence as Cassius Clay, conversion to Islam, being jailed for refusing to participate in the Vietnam war, his unsurpassable feat of winning the heavy weight championships a record 3 times, his iconic bouts with contemporaries like Joe Frazier and George Foreman, being a civil rights activist and ferociously outspoken sportsman (one of his kind in his generation), being at the helm of propagating and encouraging medical institutions to find a cure for Parkinson’s disease (PR). He just wasn’t a sportsman and a boxer, his fight lasted outside his ring and his victories were far greater and noble than what he achieved within his squadron.

My take on Muhammad Ali is that of his adversaries. (Borrowed from ‘Facing Ali’) A fierce competitor, a through professional and a gentleman who held the sport in high esteem. He fought hard, in the rings and outside it.

Very few can garner such respect, even in those evergreen days. This is my derivative of Muhammad Ali.

Image Courtsey: Time Magazine Cover, June 2016 edition.

This used to be the favourite hideout of my younger days, much much fitter and agile days I must say. 

 Field, outfield, pads, coach, technique, drive, gloves, tension, sweat, lots of sweat, passion, craziness. More importantly, it was my age of adrenaline.

After years, took a look at myself through the strokes of the young guns. Few minutes, but went back a long time ago.