Even as Laxman Sivaramakrishnan kept uttering the name of his own
home city, supposedly in his mother tongue nonetheless, that hosted the
most recent historic Indian test win as "Chenaaai", the victory itself
seemed to have come rather naturally to the Indian team.
In Virender and Gautham, India seems to have found an extremely
uncomplicated pair of batsmen who are, more to the point, naturally
suited to both face and take the shine off the new ball, be it SG Test,
Duke, or Kookburra, and once they have done that, to then also be able
to go on until the next time the box with newer ones is brought out.
When was the last time one could say this about any Indian Test opening
pair without sounding artificial.
In Sachin, India has finally found someone who, for every
minute in past 19 years, had seemed a natural "finisher" but could only
deliver on that promise on December 15, 2008. It was also quite
natural, then, that his accomplice of the moment at the crease could
not restrain himself from hoisting him on his shoulder thereby managing
to shove the ape on his won back a long distance down. Sachin was
performing the last rites of the monkey that he had been busy bringing
down from his own shoulder over the better part of the previous 24
It also seemed natural that the venue for all of this should be
Chennai which, with its cricket followers as opposed to fans, hosted a
filled coliseum on a working day as the aforementioned natural
phenomena played out. And while human nature did have a lot to do with
the selection of that venue at the last hour as host of the said match.
it was after all here that the said monkey had performed one of its
many illusionist acts from atop Sachin's back less than a decade ago.
The fact that another favorite son of that land also happens to be at
the helm of the team selection itself only adds to the sense of
retrospective inevitability that often overtakes pages of public
domain, not unlike the one you are reading now, in the aftermath of
Zaheer Khan, having paid
his dues on the front lines, then the side lines, then without any line
- or length for that matter, has taken back his natural place with the
new ball in his left hand and as mentor to the fresher - and longer -
legs running in to bowl from end opposite to his.
Another individual who would have moved Barry Levinson to make a sequel to his 1984 drama,
had he been a cricket follower himself, seems to have finally
secured what many of us have long believed to be his natural, needless
to say, very, very special, place not just in cricket, but in life, i.e.
the Indian Test team's middle order.
And then, there is their captain. Hailing from at once the
"heartland" and the "backland" of India, the most natural candidate to
wrench Indian cricket from the clasps of the self-privileged and the
self-entitled administrators and bring it back to the players and
followers of cricket.
As Indian cricket evolves with these self-mutated individuals leading their species, Charles Darwin, not alien to cricket himself
, must be raising his bat to the pavilion somewhere. But the irony is that while Indian cricket progresses into the future, "The Curious Case of Sachin Tendulkar"
reveals that he is regressing, much to everyone's benefit.