Friday, March 16, 2012
So the wait is over, the ton of tons has finally arrived. It is a staggering milestone, a cricketing Everest that may never be scaled, on par with Don Bradman's 99.94 average. Or maybe it will, who is to say? It may well be conquered just by virtue of its presence- it is now a target, an opportunity to dream the impossible dream, and on another day, another man may flirt with immortality. But until then, it will stand there, gloriously out of reach, a reminder of a time when giants mingled with men on a cricket field.
So now what? At what cost has the quest reached its conclusion? Does Sachin walk away now and prove beyond doubt this was his sole motivation to keep hauling himself out onto the field of play after that glorious April evening in Mumbai when he held the World Cup aloft? Or does he persist despite the lengthening shadows, raging against the fading of the light, ignoring not just his creaking body but an increasingly disenchanted public? At what point does the Master start to overstay his welcome? And who will tell the Emperor he's not wearing any cricket whites?
The photo encapsulates his dilemma. While the one fan stands with folded hands in awe and reverence, waiting expectantly for another miracle, the other looks like he just wants the noise to stop. Both must be voices in Sachin's head, both louder now than they've ever been.
Which one will he listen to?