At around 6 pm on Feb 24th, 2010, the air was thick with anticipation in certain parts of the world. Classes in Chennai and elsewhere were called off and the teaching boards were replaced with LCD projectors. Professionals and employees parked their vehicles and stood by the roadside shops to follow the proceedings. Work in every office took a backseat. The six O’ Clock favourite soaps of the Tamil women were dropped of the priority lists. Hungry children had no other go but to wait as their mothers left their work just to witness history.
Hunger could wait. For, the moment for which a Sport had waited for 2961 matches, 39 years and a million attempts had arrived.
Sachin Tendulkar guided the ball to the gully and stole a single which ended what was one of the most significant waits in the history of sport. The 200 run barrier had been broken as the world began to celebrate.
A few schools had declared holidays. 85 year olds were excused for behaving like 5 year olds. Elsewhere in southern India, certain students of a Hallowed University paused their match to take a Victory lap in the Hill-View stadium. Celebrities and cricketers called him the greatest. Shane Warne cheered and rejoiced on Twitter. Hundreds of profile pictures on Facebook and Orkut displayed a humble tiny man in blue raising his hands and looking heavenwards. And Saaed Anwar paid his tribute.
Tendulkar has taken the great sport to a new peak. He showed the world with this masterpiece that age is no barrier and that class is enough and there is no need for brutal power. And that you don’t need a chance to do so. And he showed the world that he is still the best. The phenomenon had yet again played a path-making innings.
Way back in 1994, as a cherubic little boy, he changed the way an opener plays by scoring a brilliant 82 off 49 balls with just 22 scoring shots. It led to a revolution bringing to the fore attacking batsmanship later displayed by Jayasuriya, Gilly, Haydos and Sehwag.
In 1998, he removed the misconception that his dear friend Shane Warne was unplayable, by smashing the cricket balls, landed on the rough against the spin. The world then began to play Warne with far more ease and confidence.
And now yet again, the great Indian played a revolutionary innings. A double ton has now become a possibility. Gayle, Sehwag among others may now fancy their chances. But only fancy though. Oh!!!!
For, it took a genius 20 years and 442 matches to do so.
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