For an instant, watching the first game of the Cricket-All-Stars Series in NewYork, it felt we had taken a time machine back to 2003. There was Sachin Tendulkar walking out to bat, looking to the heavens as he crossed the rope, opening the innings alongside Virender Sehwag. There was Wasim Akram, running his fingers through his hair one moment, tossing the ball up the next as he waited at the top of his run-up. This was not just about cricket. This was a trip back to the good old days — our childhood, for some of us; our adolescence, for others; our early adulthood, for some.
It didn’t really matter that Tendulkar did not smash the bowling to smithereens, or that he was several kilos heavier than when he last took the field, or that Akram did not make our brows furrow with worry anymore. It was a blissful escape, a journey through some wormhole into a universe where Tendulkar still had a bat in hand, Curtly Ambrose still had something dreadful sprouting from the middle of his head, Jonty Rhodes still fielded at point, and Shane Warne still had batsmen lunging down the pitch and losing their bearings — a universe where our heroes were still young; where we were still young.
“HE’S IN GOOD TOUCH. His straight drive is on fire. I saw him in the nets,” Warne said of Tendulkar ahead of the game. “He’s playing mind-games again,” his rival captain quipped. In the end, the result — Warne’s Warriors defeating Sachin’s Blasters by six wickets — was little more than a footnote.
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November 21, 2015