True. The focus is on the retirement of a 40-year old human being.
But then think about it. It was a chain with four bright beads. One. When Sourav Ganguly left the game, the left-hander left the team behind with the aggression he had taught them to harness. Two. Rahul Dravid showed how brickbats could be deftly fashioned into a tough wall of defence, that could drive away both bowlers and critics. Three. VVS Laxman’s wrists would be written off, but he learnt to raise his bat, and not his voice. Those who threw the projectiles were forced to turn to prose. It is now time for the fourth champion to leave. A jewel like the rest.
There may not be four musketeers, but there are four seasons for certain.
Sachin Tendulkar is retiring in November. On the 18th to be precise. Looks like it is going to be winter then. The end of an era that made Indian batting a ‘fource’ to reckon with.
Like four members in a music band. These men were born in the 70s, coming together to bat in the 90s and onwards. Under their helmets and caps, they enjoyed the songs of victory, while surviving the cacophony that follows a loss. But all four were lead singers in their own right, operating in duets when they came out to strike. One could lead the attack, while the other would watch. The second a wicket fell, the third, could defend and defer. Out came the fourth, to do everything of the above. All of them did open for their country.
Confused? That’s the idea. You choose the context.
One is odd, but four is even. Having breakfast, lunch, tea and dinner at the same time isn’t gluttony if we want to discuss the exploits of four cricketers at one shot. The world loves to talk about Bishan Singh Bedi, Erapalli Prasanna, Srinivas Venkatraghavan and Bhagwath Chandrasekhar. Gents who spun their way around batsmen. Right?
Just that in this case, we are talking about four great cricketers plying the opposite trade.
A square has come full circle, and it is going to be a while, till we see so much talent living together in any international dressing room. These were four gentlemen, who came from three different directions in India, with bats that forced people to run to the stadium. They didn’t say au revoir together, they would have never been allowed to. But whenever one member of the quartet quit, it was sad and comforting at the same time, to know that someone from the group continued to exist.
Not anymore. Unlike musicians, cricketers cannot play forever.
There may not be enough to justify that the four were a bobsleigh team. But what they did together, is intertwined with what they have achieved alone. Cricket is that kind of a sport, with photographers and headline writers, fans and spectators, looking out for the guy who scored the most on the day. The chances of finding a scorecard, where all four contributed equally with the bat, is next to zero.
The Prince of Kolkata had power. The Bangalorean had grace. The Hyderabadi had style. Finally, the Mumbaikar had the gift. God’s perhaps.
But if you read between the lines, all four of them have done enough to lend each other a couple of their own adjectives. Yes. Their records cannot be shared, and those of you who love statistics would not be pleased if we went there. But there is something in common, if you look at the bigger picture.
Unlike the three Ws from the West Indies- Frank Worrell, Clyde Walcott, and Everton Weekes, it is a little difficult to come up with a sobriquet for this Indian four ball. For starters, their surnames don’t start with the same alphabet, and they don’t come from the same island.
Why don’t you come up with a name?
Beamer: Will they ever play eleven bowlers?
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