Sometimes life and events take a full circle, and you come to know that when scenes from the past flash again in the present. Obviously, there'll be subtle changes but the picture is so reminiscent of what you have already seen, and more importantly.. cherished!
Lords, 2002; India were facing a daunting task of chasing 325 in the grand finale.. The rest is history.
Oval, 2007; India were again facing a stiff challenge of 315 in a match which would have otherwise sealed the fate of the series. India won.. again!
The reason that I cite these as similar is because how often have we seen our superstars falling when it really mattered! Make no mistake, I still believe that its our stars who took us to that stage that really mattered (WC 2003 being an example) but then on the real big stage, they somehow just didn't tick.
So at such times, when they do it just sticks on to the cells in the memory forever, and perhaps that is why that such matches are so special.
Almost 2 decades of doing one of the most demanding jobs in the world, and then he still shows up with the kind of enthusiasm for another day at office which even the freshers draw inspiration from. That's what separates the great(est) players from the great ones.
Cover Drives, lofted shots, cheeky paddles, brutal pulls - these things never look so beautiful and at the same time audacious as they do when the master shows them how to play it. Mortals watching can only emulate, but its the master who shows the way. Brilliant yet Brutal, thats how I'll term Tendulkar's innings at the Oval, and when they come in unison with one of the most elegant left handers India has ever produced - that's like icing on the goddamn cake. They played as though with the least respect for the opposition, they played as though they just wanted to win, they played as though they were the kings!
Getting out in the 90s is becoming as much of a trend for Tendulkar as was making 100s a few years back. Well, it was another matter that folks like me were still gruntling when he got out, I just wanted to see him play forever. But its alright, he doesn't need to prove anything. If at all that he can do anything now is to re-inject his energy into this team, which now has a lot more promising and 'fighting' youngsters who probably will take the Indian Cricket to its pinnacle some day and reflect back on this Little Master who kept on giving every ounce of his energy for the game he loved.