Sachin Tendulkar - the Hockey star?
Yes, the title does NOT make any sense – but then, it isn’t supposed to do that, actually! It is only supposed to stoke your curiosity – which it must have done, considering you have read so far. So, read on!
Here’s my theory:
“Sachin’s biggest asset is his passion. If Sachin would have played hockey instead of cricket, he’d still be a superstar – hands down!”
Here’s a scenario:
It was the year 1989 – 6 years after we’d lifted the Prudential World Cup at the Lord’s stadium. Kapil’s Devils were not getting any younger. The Indian cricket team was running on borrowed steam. Yes, we did win the Asia Cup in 1984 & the World Cahmpionship of Cricket in 1985, but we also lost 28 consecutive tests – in fact, we didn’t win any series outside the subcontinent for 19 years!
Yes, we had some amazing players, but they weren’t getting any younger, either! Kapil was looking to breach Hadlee’s record & hang up his boots, Gavaskar was aiming for the 10,000 mark – clearly, the second half of the 1980s didn’t have any ‘new’ iconic sport-stars, just the old ones getting recycled.
Enter Sachin Tendulkar – a shy kid who was barely 16 years old but clearly showed a lot of talent & promise. We all know what happens next. But, to put it in simple words: Sachin blew us all away! His talent, his flamboyance, his humility, heck, even his squeaky boyish voice was adorable!
Among other happenings, in the same era, the TV had already entered our living rooms & the people were getting glued to the idiot box (although, that name was still a few years away) slowly but surely – some out of curiosity, others out of novelty, and yet others out of sheer awe.
You know where I’m going with this? Yes? No? Well, actually I am not going anywhere. I’m gonna brake hard here & introduce an unknown, a what-if, into the equation.
“What if Sachin would have played hockey instead of cricket?”
Now go back to the theory I put forth at the beginning of this post. If Sachin had played hockey instead of cricket, he’d have played it with the same passion & aggression that he employs in his game of cricket, today. Simply put, he would have meant to hockey what he means to cricket today!
Look at it this way: When the country was experiencing a new form of worship (viz., the idiot box) & the idols were in HUGE demand, all the sport of hockey actually needed was an immensely talented, (yet humble player) who would serve as a true ambassador of the game.
In short, hockey needed a ‘Sachin’ for itself. :)
PS: It was recently claimed by the Twitter-verse recently that #SachinIsGod! The veracity of these claims is being investigated upon & no statements regarding the same – whether for or against – shall be made by this author. Any inconvenience caused is duly regretted.