Sport is a lot like life. Or is it the other way 'round? And nowhere does that seem truer to me than when India is playing down under, the first match in the MCG, knowledgeable crowds rubbing hands in expectation, two men with Blue helmets taking guard and McGrath running in. No, that does not stop people from working or does not have them gape their mouths open like they do when Messi creates magic or when Federer backhands cross court. No, Cricket is far too bland. Cricket does not stop life, it just resembles it. Test Cricket at that.
They say Cricket is the gentleman's game. I see Afridi, Akhtar, Symonds, Harbhajan, Sreesanth, Ponting, Flintoff when I watch a Cricket match. I have no reason to believe that Cricket is a gentleman's game. Gentleman, that Oxfordian word, that symbolizes dignity, tenacity, grace, charm, wit, intelligence and restrain. I have no reason to believe. Well, one reason. Maybe, five, yeah. I see Tendulkar, Kumble, Ganguly, Dravid, Laxman walk onto the ground. Ganguly might be an unusual choice. He might have been rude but never unfair. Fairness, Temperament and Commitment. Ganguly never lacked them. And passion too though he couldn't restrain or channel it like the other four among the Fab Five.
Fab Five. A term devised by romantics. People who try to will away time and reality out of the trance. There was once a time, not so long ago, when watching Indian Test Cricket was the best thing that could've given hope to a billion people of this nation. All that is changing. Indian Cricket will soon cease to be the wonderful oasis in the barren, unkind landscape of Political Cricket. It will not be a long time before I hear the retirement speeches of Tendulkar and Laxman. And I know I will choke up in tears when the I see the last of Fab Five retire. They've given me all my childhood memories.
I wish I could revert back in time. Maybe then I'll respect the time Fab Four are batting or when the warrior disguised as a bowler bowled incessantly. Watching Dravid walk in at No. 3 was one of the few truly assuring things in life. A Dravid late cut will always be that. A Dravid focus does not have a synonym. And watching Dravid sweat away bucketfuls, digging in taught me what character, temperament, patience, focus, commitment and ambition are. There was a time I adored Dravid for his grace, maturity and humility. I'm proud of it.
I'm a romantic too. It'll be The Fab Five, forever.