Really, how else would you describe the event of Mumbai Indians (MI) becoming the first team to confirm a place in the IPL 2010 semifinal lineup?
He has scored about 27% of the runs scored by MI, and is the highest run scorer in the tournament so far (512, strike rate 139.5). In 11 outings, he has been Player of the Match 4 times. And while he is leading the tally in the number of 4s hit (71), he has only hit 3 sixes (2 of them came in the last over of the 11th match).
The numbers are amazing enough but, what is really astounding is that he shows no sign whatsoever of the slightest dip in his hunger for more.
On April 24, he will turn 37. And 2010 is turning out to be one of his best years. Except for winning an ODI World Cup, he has no other real milestone left to cross. So, what is it that not only keeps him going but going like this?
I don’t have an answer to that, of course. Perhaps, as he has said several times, it is simply his love for the game. I just hope that this love stays exactly as it is.
Over at Smoke Signals, Prem Panicker has published an American’s account of becoming a Cricket fan. Prem adds:
On Cricinfo Gopal Rangachary talks of how he became a cricket fan. Strikes me, though we are all fans of the game, each of us acquired our fanboy status in different ways. Chikodi and Gopal have their stories; what’s yours? [Smoke Signals]
It reminded me of of my own entry into Cricket-fandom.
I was a voracious reader from an early age, and reading a newspaper was part of my daily routine by the time I was 7-8 years old. At the time, it was just the regional Hindi newspaper. I especially liked to read the op-ed page and the serialized comic-strip that this paper published. A lot of this reading was beyond my intellectual grasp, but I read it all anyway because there was something new to read every day – something that was not possible with books, though they had their own place in my reading scheme.
It must have been either around the time Tendulkar and Kambli created a new world record, or when Tendulkar played his first series in Pakistan (or was selected for it – my memory is fuzzy on the exact details). There was a newspaper article about Tendulkar, and what a phenomenal talent he was at such an early age. The article also carried a photo of Tendulkar.
It was that photo that made me think – if that young kid (just a few years older than me) can do it, then so can I. Parents were urged to purchase a bat and a ball, cousin sister was recruited to play against me (“one more thing for you to better me at“), stumps were drawn on a wall with a piece of red brick, and a new Cricket fan was born.
A few years down the line, and I was setting 3:00 AM alarms to watch the action in Australia (also triggering my English-learning in order to understand the commentary). A while later, I bunked school for the first (and last, I swear) time to watch a game, which turned out to be the game in which Tendulkar hit his first ODI century.
I could go on and on, but perhaps this should be kept to a personal story about one’s initiation to the game. The longer story of being obsessed with Cricket (going to the extent of watching Bangladesh-Zimbabwe Test matches) is for another day.