To be honest I never thought about the title myself. It was one of the topics for a debate competition. It was more a broader topic though "Ageing makes the wine good, does it hold good with Sportsmen?". I just thought I could narrow it down to cricketers as today it stands out as a burning issue for the Indian Cricket.
So, what has happened suddenly to all our senior pro's. Why is Sachin taking so long to complete his 100th hundred? The WALL is slowly cracking and it is painful to see his stumps rattle in mid air (something which he is so capable of defending)..people have started to dub the same VVS as "very very sad" today. As I narrowed my debate topic down to cricket, we must broader our thinking to a level beyond saying that they are just not good enough as they used to be.
When I mean broader level of thinking it strictly speaks of accepting the realistic fact that our senior players ,who have hailed Indian cricket so high for so many years now, are becoming old and nothing dramatic or for that matter the usual beauties like “the flick of the wrists and way she goes, leaning towards the ball, a perfect pull for a perfect short pitch delivery, soft hands, bottom hands, leg glances, textbook cover drives, pure class and timing” cannot be produced every now and again. It can be delivered only in short bursts of period and every next ball after such a delight follows the slightest vulnerability to watch our long time heroes head back to the pavilion with their heads down.
The midas touch and magic is in their blood and their hearts pumping every time to produce the flamboyance but their feet won’t get moving or there is a tiny little gap between bat and pad or a momentary lapse of concentration or sometimes a flickering thought “will I be dropped or should I leave with my head held high ?” “Should I push my dearest love of the game further to edge out self dignity?”
Cricket ,or for that matter any sport, is easily said than done. The same applies to cricketers who still keep saying “Age is merely a number”. Even they realize underneath that it is slowly but steadily tightening its claws around making them difficult to maneuver. How much ever you try to push hard your body cannot resist more than the adequate level. However strong one’s mental stability is but the physical strength does not keep up the momentum. It starts to deteriorate and that is clearly visible through the performances. All I am saying is that they might even get a double hundred or sweat out batting a full day but that is only short lived and should not be taken as the basis for a new foundation.
The biggest difference between playing cricket and life is very simple. Cricketers are always at their will to end their career and they will get to watch their own memorial service. Not only it is heaven foreseen but relived. At the same time the biggest similarity between the two is that they must always accept their death graciously. They don’t carry the bats nor the ball nor the stumps but those thousands of hands grasping together to stand and applaud as they leave the green pitch for one last time.