Friday, 29 November 2013


The ball turned, bounced, clipped the top of the pads and went to the slips. The fielder caught it and the entire fielding team-including the substitutes sitting inside the pavilion appealed for the ‘catch’. The umpire raised his finger. The batsman, on 96 had to go. Without any protest, with a wry smile adorning his face, he walked. An era came to an end.
This happened on the 17th of March 1987. The batsman under reference is Sunil Manohar Gavaskar, who was also called as the ‘Run machine’.
Exactly 25 years after this, on the 16th of March 2012, an Indian batsman scored his 100th 100 in International Cricket. His name is Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar.
Though both belonged to two different eras, the similarities between the two are striking.
Both are short and are (were) called as ‘Little Masters’.
Records tumbled almost every time they batted.
Both were the scourge of the opposition bowlers- who were shivering in their shoes just at the sight of these two taking guard.
The senior’s last innings was against Pakistan while his debut was against the West Indies. The younger one’s debut was against Pakistan and his last innings against the West Indies.
If only we choose to observe closely, we will know that there is always a link between different things in the world and that everything happens with a purpose.
In this case, it looked as though it was a Divine wish that Indian Cricket be bestowed with geniuses.
Though comparisons are odious and serve no purpose, it must be accepted that the younger one, achieved much more than what the senior achieved.
Leave alone the records. Consider the batting style. The younger one had an attacking style going after the bowling with will and had a near-perfect technique too while the senior was an epitome of patience and perseverance with a very solid defence.  
Much has of course been written about Sachin Tendulkar in the last one month or so and therefore I am not going to say anything more. All I can say is that he was an artiste of a totally different kind and watching him play was like listening to great music or watching a beautiful performance of classical dance.
Whether it was the sand storm innings or the knock fighting a severe back pain or the literal massacre of the world renowned leg spinner or the blitzkrieg against world’s fastest bowlers, Sachin has been a  the connoisseurs’ delight and the darling of the masses. This feature alone makes him one of the greatest cricketers the world has seen.
No doubt he had the natural ability but what set him are his hard work, and a willingness to always learn. That is why it pains whenever I see the word ‘God of cricket’ for if at all he is God, then  does it not take away all the credit? Will it be a surprise if God ‘performs’ well? After all, that is what he is expected to do.
Sachin Tendulkar is a man in flesh and blood just like you and me. Only difference is he is a genius par excellence.
By the same reasoning, ILaiyaraaja is not (in fact no human is) God of Music. He is a man, who despite his humble upbringing and background rose to the pinnacle by sheer hard work and perseverance.
Their rare genius maybe because of the ‘puNyaa’ of previous births but their greatness lies in the fact that they never rested on their laurels. That is why they are Maestros in their own way.
It will be not out of place to dedicate a song of the music Maestro to the other Maestro. The rare gem of today, Ponvaanile from Anbin Mugavari(1985) maybe a love duet but the wordings surely suit the genius and the very different tune and interludes are the musical expressions of his batting.
The song starts with the soft but dynamic guitar followed by the keys, the solo violin, the whistle, keys. A beautiful stroke on the offside with the strings pulling it to the fence..
The Pallavi in the voices of SPB and Suseela is a wristy flick to the legside with the ball travelling in ‘ta ka dhi mi ta ka’.
The guitar in the first interlude is a lofted drive while the violin is a straight drive with a still head. We see the neat, clean and a mesmerising cover drive in the piped instrument even as the drums change the pattern sounding ‘ta ki ta’ 8 times. The perfect square cut is on view as the strings ooze with melody.
The first part of the CharaNam interspersed with the flute is a wonderful on drive and the next part is a gentle push to the off side.
The second interlude makes us see the upper cut and the hook (strings), subtle and gentle off drive(guitar and piano), reverse sweep( solo violin), perfect defensive stroke( violin plus piano) and cheeky singles( piano keys).
The different pieces of violins in between the lines as the Pallavi is rendered in the end are innovative strokes possible only by Maestros- one a Cricketer and the other a Musician!

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