Saturday, January 08, 2005

A tribute to Steve Waugh, one of the all-time cricketing greats

A year has passed off since the great man left the world’s cricketing fields as a player. His exit created a void that no one would ever be able to fill.

The cricketing fraternity will remember him forever as a fighter who who never gave up, a tough act who thrived in adverse situations, a role-model who proved that sheer tenacity of will, hard work and
determination is enough to achieve in life, a leader who had no idea that the word ‘surrender’ existed, a player whose career proved to be the ideal synonym for the word ‘consistent’, a captain whose attacking attitude redefined cricketing ethics, a soldier who has left his indelible mark on many of the cricketing battlegrounds across the globe and for many more reasons..!

I still vividly remember that eventful day (Jan’06, 2004) at the Sydney Cricket Ground. A warrior dutifully carrying out the task he is acclaimed for, but for the last time in his career. That portrait of his extraordinary strength of courage and tenacity, painted with his battle-scarred willow, is still etched strongly in my memory.

Just for a moment, imagine yourself in his place- a pressure cauldron. Tens of thousands of your countrymen cheering you, you are on-duty for one last time in your career, your unbeaten captaincy record at home under threat, most of your established companions already back in the pavilion, playing your last innings in front of your home crowd, opposition breathing down your neck..! These reasons are more than enough to make your adrenaline work overtime and send your tear glands out of order. People to this date speculate that the great Sir Donald Bradman was full of tears that he was bowled off a Eric Hollies delivery for naught in his final innings and his average remained at 99.94.

But the great soldier that Tugga was, he never flinched. He took the opposition by the scruff of the neck, carried the attack to the enemy camp and yet again proved his mettle to the world. He entered the cricketing arena as a fighter and remained one all through his career. It is indeed true that great men rightly choose their way and destiny. I believe that he even wouldn’t have predicted such a swansong, when he announced his retirement in advance.

It is true that he lost the battle with time and ageing, in the one-day version of the game. Only very few people have won such battles, which mere mortals dare to fight. But he stepped down from the longer version of the game, which is the purist’s delight and the truer test for a cricketer, only as an Emperor and that too only when he decided it was time to. It has been really difficult for me writing this, trying to restrain my emotions. The Steve Waugh legacy lives on…!

See u soon..!