No story about the power of youth, the power of sheer genius and the power of sport can be complete without mentioning Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar.
If ever there was a prodigy, Tendulkar is one. If ever there was a sportsman who inspired generations, Tendulkar is one. And if ever there was a sportsman who transcended the game to become a symbol of national pride, Sachin is one.
His was what is called baptism by storm — against Pakistan, in Pakistan, against Imran Khan, Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis firing on all cylinders. And Sachin stood the sledges, the 'perfume' balls and a knock to his head.
The world had seen its first glimpse of The Tendulkar resolve.
In the years that have followed, commentators have gobbled up dictionaries to find superlative adjectives to describe his batting, his dedication to the game and his keen interest in everything cricket. Myriad records have come crashing, myriad egos have been deflated — remember Henry Olonga, anyone? – and myriad greats have doffed their hat to the Bombay Blaster.
And we have seen a master at work. We are lucky.
"Main khelunga", said a young boy, all of 16, struck on the nose by a perfume ball and bleeding. With Sidhu on the other end thinking a stretcher would need to be summoned, the world saw the arrival of the young man, who was to rule cricket for several years thereafter. Sachin struck a masterful half-century in that innings. The meek boy with a girlish voice had transitioned into a man…