On Saturday, the Indian selection committee announced the 30 probables for the inaugural Twenty20 World Cup, that begins on September 11 in Johannesburg. Missing from the Blues were Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly.
According to selection committee chief, Dilip Vengsarkar, “Rahul called me up this morning and said that the three of them were opting out; I think they wanted to give youngsters an opportunity.”
BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah told HT that contrary to rumours, the Board had not asked the players to make way. “It was their decision,” he said.
That is probably true. Well before the Twenty20 Cup was formalised, the Indian seniors were not exactly enthusiastic about the concept. “It is for generation next,” one of the trio, once said, “While the thought of playing an inaugural event is exciting, there is no point in blocking some kid’s place for something that will evolve and grow after we are gone from cricket.”
They have passed the baton. Yet, for millions of Indians, this signals the beginning of the end and a time to cherish the moments we have left of the trio.
In every generation, you have sports stars who capture the nation’s imagination. We had three. In Tendulkar, Dravid and Ganguly, India have had some exhilarating highs and lows. Their triumphs we celebrated as ours, in their times of crises, we wept.
With them, we were invincible, at least in moments; without them (and Laxman and Kumble, to complete the pantheon), is the future uncertain?