Sunday, March 30, 2008

"I was there"

History is not made every day. Those who get the opportunity of witnessing history being made should consider themselves very privileged indeed.
History does not repeat itself very often either. Hence, only an extreme bout of good fortune can make you witness history not once but twice.

The above logic applies on the cricket field too, where great feats are seldom repeated. And when they are, only a few lucky people are privileged to watch them happen on each occasion. Richard Stokes, a spectator who watched Jim Laker and Anil Kumble take all 10 wickets in an innings; and Bob Simpson, who played for and coached the Australian cricket team in the 2 tied test matches in Brisbane-1960 and Madras-1986, were two such fortunate people.

Through I have been an avid cricket fan since childhood; I have never had the opportunity to witness an international game on the field till now. Hence all my memories of great moments on the field emanate from the television set. Having watched cricket on TV for more than two decades, I have watched many great and record breaking moments on field. While all these could comprise of a full blog post, I would like to reflect on two instances of one particular record breaking moments that I was very “lucky” to catch on TV.

29th March, 2004. While the 1st Test of India’s tour to Pakistan was in progress in Multan, I was appearing for my module 3 exams in B-school. Sehwag had ended the previous day at 228 not out, and was looking all set to score many more, Though I desperately wanted to catch the match on the hostel tele, the pressure of appearing for two exams in a day, separated only by a 1.5 hour gap, 3 days in a row, was weighing on my mind. When I checked the score in the morning before rushing to the examination hall to see that Sehwag had begun the day in the same blistering fashion that he had ended the previous, I got a feeling that we might be in for something special here. But there was a good chance that I would not be able to catch the memorable moment on TV as it happened, because of the tight exam schedule. Never the less, I rushed straight to the hostel TV room as soon as I finished the morning exam. While others used the small time window available to grab a quick lunch and make some last minute preparations for the afternoon exam, I watched Sehwag send the ball sailing into the stands to complete the 1st ever triple century by an Indian!! And I rushed to my room immediately afterwards to revise some chapters.

28th March, 2008. The 1st Test of South Africa’s tour to India was in progress in Chennai, and I was travelling by train. I had been checking the score on my mobile and was aware of the fact that Sehwag was nearing another triple hundred in tests. And having seen him achieve this feat previously, I was desperate to reach home as soon as possible to get a chance to see him repeat the feat (in case he managed to do it). But Indian Railways seemed adamant to de-rail my plans this time around, and the train was delayed by a good 2 to 3 hours. Yet, I some how managed to scamper home just in time to see Sehwag flick the ball away to fine leg and celebrate yet again!! Sehwag now joined Don Bradman and Brian Lara as the only batsmen to have hit 3 triple hundreds in tests. Though not physically present at the ground, I too can now say that “I was there” when Sehwag re-wrote the record books, twice.

Update - 4th December 2009. 3rd day of the 3rd test between India and Sri Lanka. Sehwag had ended day 2 on a mind numbing 284* (all scored in just 78 overs of India's batting). At the beginning of day 3, everyone was holding their breaths to find out if Sehwag would become the 1st man in Test Cricket history to score 3 triple hundreds. Having seen his previous 2 feats live, I was surely not going to give up the chance of watching him do it for the 3rd time. Unfortunately, I was out of India and did not have access to a TV channel that showed the match live. But the die-hard cricket fan in me found a way to see the match live through a video streaming website. I held my breath as Sehwag pinched singles one by one and inched closer and closer.
But it was not to be. He fell to an tame dismissal in the hands of Murlidharan. Sehwag's shot at cricketing immortality was missed. So was my change of being witness to it...


Susindhar said...

Did you get to watch the Master make the first ever double ton as well?

Wondering Wanderer said...

Unfortunately missed catching it live. But did feast on the highlights :-)