It has been almost sixteen months since our beloved cricketer called it quits. Yet his birthday today, brings in so many memories we all want to share. Even today we want to remember his accolades, his feats, those moments when we the common people had a chance to either see him or the lucky few who met him. These memories will always come out of the closet on special occasions like his birthday. What makes the man so special that even after so long we still revere him? Even today he gets the loudest cheer at a stadium when he walks in? Perhaps it is the romanticism attached with the man. The love for him stems not only because of his achievements but also for the humble man he was during his playing days. Fans from across the globe came down to pay tributes to him when he retired, I still remember a sixty-year-old lady at the stadium who came on a wheel chair to see him play one final time, a six-year-old boy who had very little information on the man was there too, it was the pure unadulterated emotion the man got out on the table that made him the hero he is today.
It is said nothing is permanent in sport, heroes come and heroes go. Legends leave behind an indelible impression and the future generation carries forward the torch. That it seems has not happened with Indian cricket. Look at it from the Australian perspective, when Steve Waugh had retired, Ponting took over the mantle, when he hung his boots Clarke carried forward the Australian tradition, even now Steve Smith has become a likeable character in every household down under. This unfortunately has not happened with us. A lot has happened in the last sixteen months; we have been whitewashed overseas, won irrelevant tournaments back home and have surrendered our world cup title. Yet we haven’t found a new hero. The media no doubt tried creating one out of Virat Kohli, but sadly he hasn’t lived up to any expectations.
Yes! He is a talented player, who has won us numerous matches but unlike Sachin he hasn’t been humble about it. Ok! There will be a theory that says ‘different individuals think differently’ but then that being the case he should not be equated in the same breath as Sachin Tendulkar. It was not just his batting exploits that won the legend so many fans from the world over. It was indeed his off field behavior that made him a cricketing superstar. Last week Kohli hit out at the media for criticizing him for his world cup failure, he went on to accuse his own team mates in the process, the sad part being this man is going to lead India in the future. If ever Sachin had to pass a similar statement it would put all his teammates for twenty years into national embarrassment.
That is the difference between a good batsman and a hero, Kohli, Sharma, Dhawan they are good cricketers but to become a legend you have to ‘Play it his way’. The wait for a new hero just got longer.