November 2, 2013

Indian cricket

'Please call me Sachin'

People naming their babies after Sachin Tendulkar isn't new in India, but for Sachin Rana, his very identity has been shaped by Tendulkar's success in the game. Rana, who was named Pramod at birth, tells the Times of India the story of his adopted name.

"I was always Sachin. I never knew who Pramod was," he says, "I never identified with that name. My grandfather introduced me to the game when I was two. Tendulkar was already a star when he made his Test debut and my parents say everybody started calling me Sachin. I would always be running around with bat and ball. By the age of 10, I was a huge Tendulkar fan. If a friend called up at home asking for Pramod, I wouldn't know what to say. Call me Sachin, I'd tell them. Pramod had disappeared long before I officially changed my name when I was in Class 9. It was not a difficult decision."

Pradeep Magazine, writing for Hindustan Times, believes that Tendulkar's final Ranji game being played in the relatively unknown village of Lahli, was of bigger relevance than the cricket itself.

The venue of the match was not the handiwork of a smart-thinking Board, which may have wanted a village flavour to Tendulkar's last match for his state. It was due to the Ranji Trophy scheduling, which is done on a home-and-away basis, that Mumbai were pitted to play Haryana on their turf. By sheer chance, the setting of the match became as much a talking point as the farewell itself. This village background for the swansong of a modern-day legend may have seemed incongruous to begin with. But it turned out to be a perfect setting that connected two disparate worlds. And therein lay the significance of Tendulkar's last first-class match. What it symbolised may be greater, and more important, than his final bow at Mumbai's Wankhede stadium on November 18.

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