A beginning!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Two AceS

As an avid cricket follower, I feel lucky to have witnessed the era when careers of two of the finest Indian cricketers coincided. Even as Saurav walks in the eventide, ageless Sachin marches on.

Arguably, both were in the best form of their life during late 1990s and early century. Sachin's Desert Storm, Saurav's Toronto heroics with both bat and ball, World Cup 2003 and the innumerable great starts the flamboyant pair provided in ODIs for years... the list can go on and on... Scores of newspaper columns have been written in their praise. Much has been said about how Sachin's attacking batting and Saurav's batting (to some extent) and captainship (to larger extent) represents the face of emerging nation freeing itself from psychological shackles of colonialism that transcended generations after Independence.

If one is to compare (can one really?), then Sachin wins hands-down. He was always far superior technically. Discipline, determination, balance, modesty. He has it all.

Saurav was never perfect - as a player or even otherwise. Struggling to short pitch bowling, refusing to carry drinks as 12th man, crossing path with opposition players, dancing shirtless on Lord's balcony, getting on odds with then coach Chappell (finally resulting in his ouster from team)...

While Sachin was a monk-like perfectionist, Saurav was always more human. He never fully managed to master his shortcomings. Who would forget Sachin's Sydney double hundred where he exhibited supreme self control and refused to play cover drive till he crossed 150? Could one even dream of something similar from Saurav?

But Saurav had his own flair. He always managed to hold on to his own even while batting together with Sachin. Unlike Rahul, who always played second fiddle to Sachin, Saurav played his own game. As a caption, he instilled self-belief in his players to compete against the strongest of the oppositions on their home turf. He was never as modest as Sachin but usually managed to channelize his aggression well to have positive effect on team performance.

While I would continue to worship Sachin like all fans, Saurav would always find a special place in my heart as he hits something closer home! He is more like us lesser mortals. Just like we know our shortcomings but never fully manage to fix it, Saurav had his share too. What makes him hero is that while he could never overcome them fully, he had the right attitude and mental strength to see it through and make it big. He was a great survivor and succeeded against odds and finds place in same bracket as some of the greatest.

He might be the lesser gifted amongst the two, but if I were to pick a batsman to hit a last ball Six to win the World Cup, I would pick Saurav over Sachin!


  • Last ball six... I would not pick Saurav Ganguly... I would rather go for Yuvraj or Dhoni :-)

    And did Sachin hit a cover drive even after 150?

    By Blogger Vivek, at Tue Oct 28, 09:19:00 AM 2008  

  • Nice work... long due.. and i probably wont pick either to hit a six on the last ball... unless its a spinner bowling to Saurav...


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Oct 29, 01:05:00 AM 2008  

  • Last ball and six ...i would pic a bowler! Evidently, they seem to perform better in such a situation. But out of the two I'd go for saurav too i guess! I wouldnt have chosen Saurav at the first insticnt, but i know what you mean!.... But only for that otherwise its SACHIN SACHIN and only SACHIN!!!!

    By Blogger Vaidehi, at Wed Oct 29, 03:58:00 PM 2008  

  • Dude, nice read ..would have been nice had you mentioned Ganguly's Brisbance heroics somewhere ...it really was a special effort from a left handed god of the off-side :)

    By Blogger Kaushik, at Thu Oct 30, 10:24:00 AM 2008  

  • Two people went to moon in Apollo 11, with same efforts, hard work & curiosity. But world always remembers Neil Armstrong as a First Person, to walk on the moon. It just a difference of a step, by which Edwin Aldrin was behind.

    It is our habit that we define the number one & number two, even though countless efforts are same!

    By Blogger Nayana Dongare, at Tue Nov 11, 11:20:00 AM 2008  

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