Sachin has retired. He won’t be playing cricket again.
Everyone is busy. Everyone wants to take interview Sachin and then add another drop to the blogosphere already flooded with Sachin. I am no different. I decided to take his interview as well. I left home, and came back dejected.
Sachin was busy, taking awards, collecting mementos, getting photos clicked, delivering thank you speeches and had no time for an interview with me.
So then, in a corner of the room, away from all the hustle, I saw his bat, lying down. And decided, let me interview this little piece of wood, Sachin’s better half on the cricket pitch. Something he can’t be imagined without.
Here are some excerpts from the same:
Me : Hello, Mr. Bat. Thanks for agreeing to talk to me.
Bat : Good Evening, Annanya. Nice to see you.
Me : How do you feel today, Mr. Bat?
Bat : Right now, I’m very nervous. This is my first interview. Should have learnt about this from Sachin, He has been doing this since he was 14. We have taught each other various things over the past 24 years, but He never gave me any interview tips.
Me : So, tell me about how it all began, did you always know that you would become Sachin’s Bat?
Bat : Good Question. I guess the tree I came from knew about it. It’s an interesting story. During my childhood in Kashmiri wilderness, a woodcutter came and almost chopped down the tree. The tree, still very young, did not want to cut down. It pleaded before the woodcutter, and asked him to leave him for God’s sake. And, he did leave me, for God’s sake.
Me : Nice story. And when did you first realize that you were in great hands?
Bat : It was in Perth, during the 91-92 series. Everyone knows how great that innings what. Most of the times, I was close to His chest, such was the bounce in that pitch. Still, I met most of the balls right at my center, that was enough indication that the I was in no ordinary hands.
Me : May I ask you which bowler you liked to screw the balls of the most?
Bat : Come on, Annanya. I am Sachin’s bat, not Kohli’s.
Me : Err, sorry. I didn’t mean to be rude.
Bat : Yeah, I know. I understand what you want to ask. I always liked hitting Australian bowlers. particularly Warne and McGrath. You can say I always had a ball of a time thrashing them out of the park. Also, Pakistan’s Shoiab Akhtar. He had such a long run-up that I used to get bored waiting for him to deliver. Hitting him was a delight, hope you all remember that six over point, when I met the ball at the bottom and still managed to send it over the fence. I always thank Sachin for that shot.
Me : Yes, that was an incredible shot. So, tell me about your equation with other bats in the dressing room.
Bat : The atmosphere in the dressing room was good. I was good friends with almost all the bats. It was only Azharuddin’s bat that I hated, that lean piece of timber. He was mean, always teasing me with fat jokes. I felt really bad sometimes, but then, later in my career, I got a new best friend, Dhoni’s bat. He was another fat one in the room, and we really enjoyed each other’s company.
Me : And how was your chemistry with Sachin?
Bat : Oh, it was awesome. We shared a beautiful relationship. He always took great care of me. Always made sure I was having the right amount of weight, the perfect grip, and was chiseled correctly. There was a tough time when He had that Tennis Elbow, and He asked me to reduce my weight. That was a tough call, because I had always been fat, and reducing weight didn’t just seem easy. But we managed to pull it off somehow. During His time in the middle, we talked a lot. About cricket, how His form is, what the match situation is, and when to hit Sehwag on the bum.
Me : Given the workaholic that Sachin is, you also would have had to work hard for the past 24 years.
Bat : Yeah, that was tough. He used to practice in the nets for hours at a stretch, I was almost drained out completely by the evening everyday. Before foreign tours, he used to have throw-downs with wet rubber balls to prepare for bouncy pitches. I just loved that wet soaky feeling. But in the nights before match-days, He used to shadow practice His shots in the hotel room. This always made me angry. How do you expect me to perform tomorrow when you don’t even let me sleep at night. But, the genius still somehow used to script masterpieces with me the next day. God-like characteristics!
Me : So, which was you favorite shot?
Bat : The straight drive. This was a shot when I could greet the ball with a bear-hug instead of just a handshake like during the leg glance or the square cut.
Me : And was there a shot you didn’t like?
Bat : Yes, unlike the rest of the world, I hated it when Sachin played the paddle sweep. My sides still hurt due to that grazing with the turf whenever He used to play that shot.
Me : Any other memories of Sachin you would like to share?
Bat : There are many memories, But I don’t think you have enough space.I may be heavy, but without Sachin, I am practically weightless. I was the Magician’s Wand. His weapon of mass destruction, and at the same time, His instrument of peace. It was using me that He brought schools, colleges, offices, and nations to a halt. It was using me that He gave people hope when all was lost. It was using me that He taught people what a fighting spirit is. It was using me that He spread joy. What more would a humble piece of Kashmir Willow want?
Me : And now that you are retiring, any future plans?
Bat : My future plans? Ummm, I guess I’ll occupy some corner in Tendulkars’ household. Those guys are like family to me. May be Arjun would like to use me sometime. Or maybe not. I’m happy with whatever Sachin decides to do with me. Thank God I’m not Afridi’s bat, otherwise I’d have had to start preparing for the next match even after retirement.
Me : Thank you very much, Mr. Bat. Was a pleasure talking to you.
Bat : Oh! Thank You too. Hope you have a great life ahead, Annanya.
(with due permission from: http://annanyajohari.wordpress.com/ )