Sachin Tendulkar: The transition of a fan from the 1996 World Cup to 2011

Sachin Tendulkar's brilliant performances in the 1996 World Cup were not enough

Sachin Tendulkar’s brilliant performances in the 1996 World Cup were not enough

Flashback to the year 1996: For someone who had started watching cricket only days earlier at the age of 8, this was a must watch game. The extreme euphoria of beating arch rivals Pakistan in the quarter finals at Bangalore was yet to subside. Those were the days when beating Pakistan was akin to winning the cup. When Mohammad Azharuddin walked out for the toss with Arjuna Ranatunga on 13 March 1996 at the Eden Gardens for the semi-final of the 1996 World Cup, India were the clear favourites. Sri Lanka had a fair share of luck with two walk-overs due to forfeited matches but were playing a fearless brand of cricket and were the dark horses for the tournament. Azhar won the toss and surprisingly decided to field first and Sri Lanka were reduced to 1 for 2 at the end of the 1st over.

And then it all went downhill from then onwards for India. Aravinda De Silva batted imperiously for a knock of 66 of 47 balls with a strike rate of 140.42. With a few lusty blows from Chaminda Vaas, Sri Lanka managed to reach 251 in their 50 overs.

It was a stiff target considering chasing under lights at the Eden is always difficult but in came Sachin who seemed like a man on a mission. Despite the early loss of Sidhu, Manjrekar and Tendulkar plotted India’s recovery and India were well on target at 98 for 1 when the unthinkable happened. Sachin stepped down the crease to Jayasuriya and was stumped by Kaluwitharana for 65 out of a team total of 98. The collapse that followed was apocalyptic and India were tottering at 120 for 8, when the crowd decided enough was enough. Bonfires raged in the stands forcing the match referee to call of the match and Sri Lanka went through to the final and the rest as they say is history.

As Vinod Kambli cried, a fan in me wept. For someone who had just been introduced to the boy wonder named Sachin Tendulkar, this was a tragedy. For I had never doubted for a second that we wouldn’t win the ultimate cup that year. 523 runs during the tournament and it looked like he could carry the entire team on his own shoulders. But for once, he couldn’t. And his teammates were to be blamed, Azhar was to be blamed for not batting first after winning the toss, the curators were to be blamed for that square turner which made Jayasuriya a dangerous spinner and finally, God had to be blamed as my hero was denied justice. This was supposed to be his cup.

Move forward to the year 2003: A much more mature cricket fan now, the 2003 World Cup was a battle between the mind and the heart – the mind said we had just lost a one day series in New Zealand by a huge margin and every batsman had struggled – we didn’t stand a chance. The heart said – Come on India!

And the tournament started disastrously for the team. A struggle to beat minnows Netherlands and dismissed for 125 in the second match against tournament favourites Australia. There was outrage back in India with black flag demonstrations in front of the players’ houses. What followed was the resurgence of Himalayan proportions.

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Preview — Given the firepower in both line-ups, Dubai crowd may see another high-scorer More »

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Preview — The threat of Sunil Narine looms large again. More »

Glenn Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Glenn Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Glenn Maxwell seems to project an icy disdain when at the crease. Match situations rarely faze him and the bubble in which he plays excludes everyone … More »

[REWIND] The world record that nearly wasn't

[REWIND] The world record that nearly wasn't

Twenty years ago this week, Brian Lara became Test cricket's highest scorer, but he almost didn't make it. More »

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

Dalmiya feels that Srinivasan’s ‘power hungry’ attitude isn’t helping matters. More »

It's getting increasingly tough for bowlers: Ajmal

It's getting increasingly tough for bowlers: Ajmal

The 36-year-old believes the T20 format and rule changes in 50-over matches have made a real difference. More »

Moores set for England recall

Moores set for England recall

The 51-year-old will succeed Andy Flower, who stepped down after five years in charge following the 5-0 Ashes defeat in Australia in January. More »

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

The bowlers restricted Hyderabad to 133 for 6 before Rahane and Binny took Rajasthan over the line. More »

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

Kevin Pietersen has ridiculed the idea of day-night Test cricket, saying the game would be so different to proper Test cricket that we will need a whole… More »

BCCI members want independent probe

BCCI members want independent probe

The board members are realising after the Supreme Court's observations that something has to be done — IS Bindra More »

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

The Kings XI batsman blasted a 43-ball 95 to help his team pull off a massive chase against Chennai Super Kings. More »

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

Two former BCCI presidents, Shashank Manohar and Jagmohan Dalmiya, have reacted strongly to the news of the BCCI calling an emergent meeting on Sunday… More »

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj Singh was hardly convincing to begin with against Delhi, but a big dose of crowd support and a helping of poor bowling meant he had the opportunity… More »

Stressed Trott stands down again

Stressed Trott stands down again

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Friday confirmed that batsman Jonathan Trott is to take another break from all cricket with immediate eff… More »

PCB starts another coach hunt

PCB starts another coach hunt

The PCB has decided to not extend the contracts of head coach Moin Khan, fielding coach Shoaib Mohammad and batting consultant Zaheer Abbas, and has invited… More »

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

England all-rounder Ben Stokes admits he must keep his anger under control if he is to end his international exile. More »

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Yuvraj Singh was back to his best in his first match for Royal Challengers Bangalore. More »

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistani cricket authorities have launched an investigation after a number of current international stars played in exhibition matches in the United States… More »

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

The BCCI will hold an emergent working committee meeting on April 20 to discuss the future course of action with regard to the Supreme Court hearing concerning… More »

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

"Integrity is non-negotiable..." says the BCCI's interim chief ahead of Season 7 of the tainted league. More »

Time for Chennai to enter familiar cocoon

Time for Chennai to enter familiar cocoon

Chennai have an emphatic 8-3 lead in the head-to-head with Punjab, with one game tied More »

Kallis, Narine star in KKR win

Kallis, Narine star in KKR win

An all-round display saw Knight Riders thump Mumbai Indians by 41 runs in the IPL-7 opener. More »

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

The 38-year-old South African veteran turned it on for Kolkata Knight RIders in the opening match of IPL-7. More »

Rajasthan and Hyderabad face-off

Rajasthan and Hyderabad face-off

A quality that defines Rajasthan and Hyderabad is consistency. Rajasthan was one among two teams to enjoy complete dominance at home last season. Hyderabad… More »