In the hoopla of India lifting the ICC Cricket World Cup, a handful might have thought about a player, warrior and a whole lot of other adjectives rolled into one we can colloquially refer to as ‘The Superman’, actually drifting into a silent retirement.
Fans may swear for Sachin’s godliness, critics may crave scores of lines toeing in Murali’s divine skills or even Ponting’s brute mental strength – but in this bokeh of a focussed discussion of the game’s greatest, we have conveniently forgotten to focus on one man who is irreplaceable – the one who makes this picture the bokeh it is.
If you think of it, you can recollect commentators talking of Sehwag being in the ‘Tendulkar mould’ or Murali finding emulators – one even played for KKR last season!
But a genuine doubt that I nurture is if you will ever hear of ‘The Next Rawalpindi Express’.. ‘coz seriously, you don’t unearth a Superman every few years!
And when he silently slid into retirement sitting on the benches during the touted ‘epic’ semi-final of the World Cup, the audience hardly took note. To them, either sixty years of malign was too blinding to admire a true titan or they had conveniently chosen their ‘Gods’ and in return had disrespect for a man not to be seen on the hunting grounds again.
Shoaib Akhtar has taken his last wicket and had his last hurrah in international cricket – a bitter pill to swallow. Even more bitter when you think of no farewell words to follow.
As for a fan like me, I have my little fistful of words..
You are the Protagonist of every story we didn’t write,
You are the Subject of every song they never sang,
You are not Everything they ever wanted,
‘Coz you are Nothing short of Something they can never have – The Superman from Pakistan, We miss you..!
P.S. I grew up wanting to be you ‘coz no cricketer has ever evoked the kind of emotions you generated when you steamed-in each time for your country. I wish you all the success in the road ahead and company that is worthy enough to acknowledge your contributions.