2nd April 2011, the day that is forever etched in the memory of Indian cricket fans. India won the world cup that day. Now forgotten. 12th March 2011. The day that is most crucial to Indian cricket today. It was the day Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar scored his 99th international century. We are still awaiting 100 number hundred.
He has played 4 ODIs and 6 tests since then. That’s a total of 15 innings and he still hasn’t scored a century. What is going on? Well, if you ask Edward De Bono, he will say that the universe is conspiring against Sachin and preventing him from getting that all elusive hundredth ton. If you ask George W Bush, he is likely to say that it’s all because of those WMDs and if you ask Dhoni, he will say, ‘well of course’.
We, in India, treat cricket as religion and by extrapolation, Sachin as God. There has been no shortage of reasons as to why Sachin has not reached his hundredth. A famous astrologer came on national television and said that according to numerology, Sachin’s name was all wrong. According to the lining up of Mars and Jupiter on Sachin’s horoscope, his name only added up to 99 and not a hundred. He suggested that Sachin change his name to Saachchin to reach that hundred. The slightly wittier public suggested a better alternative – Sachin Tondulkar. Sachin (99) + ‘Ton’dulkar = 100. Voila!
Of course, not everyone is thrilled by this. Of course, any time that Guru Greg feels that he is out of the limelight, he releases a book and disses Sachin or Saurav or both. But never Dravid. Or Pit=yush Chawla. He has come out and said that Sachin lacks the mental toughness to get that elusive hundredth. ‘Sachin is mentally very fragile. He might get 99 hundreds but only when he gets that hundredth will he actually get to a hundred’, he said. Captain obvious, we said.
There has been no shortage of support from all quarters. Sreesanth said, ‘I have graciously agreed to donate my only century in test cricket to Sachin paaji.’ When we looked up the stats, Sreesanth was referring to the inning where he had more than a hundred runs to his name. In his bowling figures. Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan Singh would, of course, gladly do it ‘for Sachin’ but one is approaching his century in kilograms and the other looks like the only century he will be making any time in the near future is in the nets in his backyard. The Indian team seems a long way away.
Not to be left out, the BCCI have also pledged their support and have tried to help the cause. ‘We see that this is a serious problem of national importance and that this mist be dealt with as soon as possible. As a result, we have decided to award one of Dravid’s centuries to Sachin. After all, Dravid is the most loyal servant of the BCCI. We call him up when ever we want to, drop him from the next tour, call him after five years and then promptly drop him again and he never once complains. We’re sure that he will graciously agree to donate his century.’ Dravid was unavailable for comment. He was practicing in the nets.
Even past legends like Shane Warne, Henry Olonga and Andrew Caddick have offered to come out of retirement to offer Sachin incentive to get his all elusive century. Shoaib Akhtar tried to lure him by making his autobiography controversial but Sachin did not fall for it.
Meanwhile, the twitterverse has taken this as some kind of a joke and has even come up with the hashtag #thingsThatWillHappenBeforeSachinGetsHisCentury and were audacious enough to add such comments as ‘Sachin will get his century. LOL’, ‘The Bold and the Beautiful will come to an end’ and the worst of the bunch, ‘Afridi will turn 19.’
There is only one solution to this madness. EA Sports cricket ’97. Hit the pause button (space bar). Put ‘131’. Richie Benaud will say, ‘congratulations. You have cracked the cheat code. Good luck!’ And then play the game. A century. Guaranteed. Put ‘321’ for good measure too. It turns gravity off.