30 Aug 2018, 06:45 IST
1993 was an eventful year in human history. On the 1st of January, the velvet divorce split Czechoslovakia into the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Bill Clinton was sworn In, etc etc.
In the same year – India’s premier national channel (DD), filed a lawsuit against Star TV, for not providing uplinking rights to one of the most important cricket event of the 90s.
Cricket Association of Bengal wanted to celebrate its diamond jubilee in 1993, by hosting HERO Cup – an ODI tournament where 6 nations were invited – India, SA, SL, WI, Pak, ZIM. Pakistan couldn’t make it and it was reduced to a 5 nation tournament.
The Indian cricket team of the 90s was a pretty ordinary cricket team. Each of its victories – brought unimaginable joy among the Indians. After India’s economic reforms in 1991 – there was great hope and expectation all around. But all of this also needed the right motivation and more importantly the right hero, which could be respected and which could be emulated.
DD cited a 108-year-old law, The Indian Telegraph Act of 1885, and claimed that it had all the broadcast rights of any uplinking activity happening from the Indian Soil. The dichotomy of liberalization :):)
India won the Hero cup bringing great joy to an entire sports-hungry nation. But something strange had happened in the Semi-Finals.
India was set to lose a game against the mighty South Africans in the Semi-Finals. India used to open with Prabhakar and Jadeja, Azhar and Sachin were decent batsmen, and then there was a long tail. Indian lower middle order batsmen huffed and puffed around Azhar’s fine 90(118). Amre made 48 and Sachin made 15. These were the only 10+ scores from the Indian side.
I’ll cut everything else short.
SA needed 6 runs in the final over. Kapil, Prabhakar, Srinath – all had overs remaining.
Kumble – the best Indian bowler was done with his quota.
It was an unforgiving scenario for anyone who would have bowled the last over. 100,000 Kolkatans and tens of millions of Indians were glued on television.
Then something happened… the time was 8.45 PM IST…a time for national news on Doordarshan. The telecast was interrupted by a 3-minute announcement.
The news anchor came live and said that the national news will be broadcasted after 9:00 PM. This was the First time in Doordarshan’s history that an event was given primacy over the national news… yes, the First time.
Sachin – was given the responsibility to win the game for India – by not allowing Brian McMillan to score 6, or even 5 runs (SA were ahead of India in the points table)
Conspiracy theories were afloat – Azhar didn’t like Sachin’s rising stardom and wanted to make a scapegoat out of him blah blah.
Sachin was acknowledged/rather anticipated to be an all-time best batsman by most cricket pundits as soon as he made his debut against Pakistan in 1989. But, bowling? and winning a SF against SA through his bowling was something that was never expected of him.
A billion people waited in anticipation. As Sachin bowled dot deliveries one by one, to the cheers of a desperate nation.
As if he had the soul and a message from an angel from Andromeda (a galaxy 2.5 million light years away). How else could he get away with all these dibbly dobbly stuff.
Sachin won the game for India and proved that for a nation in search of transformation and dynamic mojo – Destiny will find a Hero.
A true Hero who will win India a Hero Cup – by his bowling.
A true Hero, who will be a role model to the millions of aspiring Indians, who just needed to tick off their “attitude” cognitive box to become successful.
(First part of a series on the cricket games that I have watched. Next part will talk about a champion non-Indian cricketer)
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