HeroesExcerpt taken from The Hindu 09/05/06 "In praise of individual genius"-Shekhar Nirmal talking about how winning and losing are pale in comparison with the works of incomparable individual genius.
One man with a mission(Michael Schumacher on sunday);the lone steely eyed warrior waging a courageous battle(Steve Waugh),half a million times,if you'll pardon the exaggeration); a solitary footballer doing a Nureyev on a football field, dancing his way past stunned opponents to slot the ball in the net (Diego Maradona, Mexico, 1986); the strongest willed sportsman of our times turning a bicycle into a symbol of immortalty, pedalling his way around death’s doors to explore new vistas in his own heart and soul (Lance Armstrong); a great, upright champion making the name of the oldest and the most celebrated tennis tournament in the world synonymous with his own.
Three years ago, in the cricket World Cup in South Africa, India put in a fine team performance to beat Pakistan yet again on the big stage. Everybody talked about the new Indian team spirit, as, of course, they are doing right now all over again.
But to a reductionist like me, on that day, whatever India achieved against Pakistan was made possible by the genius of one little man. An epic victory was built on the assault mounted by one man on the Pakistan’s fast bowlers.Sachin Tendulkar’s genius made all the difference. The rest are minor details.