The spirits are high—the expectations are higher.
The selectors have provided what is probably the best unit to bring glory on the 2nd of April, 2011.
That was what we believed four years ago, but it was not to be.
We came close in 1996, and looked set until the disastrous performance against the eventual champions, Sri Lanka.
Seven yeas later, one man stood between the Aussies and cup, but it all ended too early when the hopes of a whole nation fell like a red apple into the hands of a screaming McGrath off the "MRF" willow in the very first over of the second innings in the final.
In 2007, we lost the battle even before it began.
Time has come for the team to redeem itself, and this time around, in our backyard.
While every single Indian wants Team India to win, and every member of team will give it their all, one person will be taking the stage one last time to fulfill what was his unfulfilled dream since the day he, as a 10 year old kid, rejoiced with rest of the nation when Kapil’s Devils beat the Windies to win the game’s most coveted trophy in 1983.
Earlier in 1996 and 2003, he single-handedly took the team within grabbing distance of the trophy, but the "better team" won.
Since 1992, the lead pacers, spinners, batsmen and keepers changed. Only the best batsman and hope remained.
And thus far, only as a hope.
It will be foolish and selfish on our part to expect Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar to be a part of the team in 2015. If it has to come, it is now—and he cannot do it alone.
The team, as much as they want to win it, must step up to give this great man something which he deserves as much as anybody else.
Or more, I dare say.
Yes! He deserves it more than anybody else. Yes! For all that he has done, given and given up over the years for this wonderful sport and its fans, this is the least the team can do for him.
He has done India proud by all his achievements for over 21 years.
He has given us the joy of watching a genius in action, the joy only he can provide. He has many times over allowed the nation to forgive and forget the entire team’s dismal performances with his hundreds in lost causes.
He had saved the nation from disgrace when he pleaded the unruly and un-sportive crowd at the Eden garden to settle—and only he could do that.
Though he has done many such wonderful things, two things in particular stand out. One is the fact that he has literally given up his entire teenage years for the sport—the age when all his school mates and friends were cherishing what we consider the most memorable period of life, he was busy serving the nation.
The second and most courageous of all was a sacrifice beyond comparison. Midway through the 1999 World Cup, he had to return home when his beloved father Ramesh Tendulkar expired due to a heart attack.
But in less than 48 hours, he was back in England, for his nation needed him. We had lost to a lowly Zimbabwean team in his absence. He returned, scored a century in the very next match and looked up to the heavens and said “Dad, this is for you.”
It was not about the century, yes, it came against Kenya. It was not about India winning.
But what is significant is that with all the pressure and a heart filled with emotions, he returned. He returned, because the nation needed him.
This is just a plea to the rest of the team to give it their all and do it for their idol. Every member of the team has been, in a way small or big, inspired by the great at some point in their life.
In fact, most of them consider him their God.
This is not a one man team. He tried, in vain, on different occasions single-handedly. He cannot do it alone—few can.
But he can do it with your help. This is best and the last chance, even for God.
Do it for him guys, do it for Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar.