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HindustanTimes Sun,28 Dec 2014
In this circus of life, even the greats are fragile
Pradeep Magazine
January 20, 2012
First Published: 23:28 IST(20/1/2012)
Last Updated: 01:53 IST(21/1/2012)

We fret, fume and fulminate against a "good for nothing" India team, its ageing and now lusterless stars and write Test cricket's epitaph. A mob mentality has taken over the television channels, with the print media not too far behind.

The target of their ire is Tendulkar, Dravid and Laxman, and if their wish prevails, these players would be barred from entering the very turf on which they have straddled with majesty and aplomb for more than a decade now.

How cruel public memory can be. Beware of a fan's adulation because his wrath can be more biting than the sting of a bee. In the world of glamour sports, where winners take it all, there are no permanent idols, no gods to be worshipped till eternity.

The realisation that you are no longer wanted and fingers are pointing at the exit door can be an agonising and tormenting thought; it could be akin to being face to face with death.

Laxman's "in camera" batting session, away from the prying eye of the ubiquitous camera lenses and the harsh media scrutiny could be a freeze-frame moment which symbolises the loneliness of a great performer now trying to rehearse and mug those very lines he could once utter even in his sleep.

Dravid, whose mental sparring with the leather ball is the key component of his mastering the moving, bouncing ball, must be hearing the rattling sound of the shattered stumps even in his dreams. What a dreadful thought it must be for the most accomplished of among them all, to find each time he goes out to bat, the ball drilling a hole in those very defences that people call The Wall.

Even the greatest - of the past, present and future generations -is not immune to getting caught in this whirlwind, though his feet are moving well, the bat is sighting the ball in time enough to unleash strokes of pristine beauty. Is this the sign of even the "God" feeling the need to show signs of frailty, of self-created pressure of being at toe-touching distance of a landmark that none would ever dare to even dream.

In the gripping drama -tragic and grand in all its dimensions - that is unfolding in front of us, one may be witnessing the birth and the beginning of another tale of similar grandiose taking shape.

The intensely brooding, piercing eyes are not the only standout feature of Virat Kohli. He does seem to possess those qualities that set a rare talent apart from the average one.

The strength of not to get brow-beaten in adverse conditions, the ability to withstand pressure and the technique, skill and that silken touch that could make him the shining face of a future, howsoever dark it may appear today.


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