I lazily climbed out of the bed and headed towards the luxurious bathroom in my room in the famous Taj Coromandel. Today was the big day and also the day that I turn eighteen. I looked in the mirror and saw not an eighteen year old boy but a small boy about ten years ago stare back.
The small boy, who like every other Indian boy dreamed of playing for his country in his country’s colours and here I was in front of the mirror unable to hold back my emotions as they rushed in. I splashed cold water on my face hoping that it would hide my joyful tears. Could it be that the same boy who once was almost paralyzed be playing for the Indian cricket team in today’s match?
I arrived at the stadium and soon was into drills and practices. Fielding drills and last minute warm ups went while the captain won the toss and elected to bat in the first test between India and Australia. I learned then that the eighteen year old boy would be making his debut in this match by opening for his country. A childhood dream just became true. And for a cricket fanatic like me, who lived, ate and breathed cricket it was more than a dream. Of the millions, I was chosen here to represent my country and that was something one always longs for.
I quickly donned my batting gear and as I bent down to tie my shoe lace; I could see my fingers tremble at the mere thought of playing for my India.
Seeing the sun beating down hard, the clouds motionless, one knew that it was going to be a stuffy humid day. I didn't seem to mind the temperature as I didn't notice it, at least not until I had donned my equipment and took my blade.
I stepped out of the pavilion along with Gambhir and instantly was blinded by the sun. Though temporarily blinded I could hear thunderous roar greeting as we walked to the centre. I looked around and saw people cheering and welcoming the two Indian warriors as they walked towards the pitch. I saw my mother and father and all my loved ones and friends in the pavilion cheering me on. The others, barely even knew my name but here they were applauding.
What was waiting for me, I did know. I was preparing for years for this one moment and now I suddenly felt not ready. As I took each step towards the centre, the more the feeling persisted. The hope and joy of a billion people was now suddenly on my young shoulders.
The mercury seemed to go a few centigrade up all the sudden as I reached the centre. And I started to sweat profusely.
“Leg Stump”, I said to the umpire and carefully took my time taking guard. Then as I surveyed the field, I felt shivers up my spines. The expectations were high, the adrenaline was flowing, my heart beating madly as my childhood dream that I had nourished for the last decade or so was to become reality. I said a few words for heavens to hear.
The first ball of the match would be bowled by Brett Lee, the fastest in the world. He had the ball in his hand, the fielders were ready, the keeper was ready, the stadium was ready, and the world was ready and here was my chance to live my dream.
I took my stance, and rapped the ground hard twice and the umpire said play. Lee came running in as the world waited with baited breath and I with my heart in my throat.
The ball was released, my bat hit the dirt, and behind me, my timber shattered. First ball duck was my score; a debutant had struck out first ball for a golden duck.
As I walked back, my head fixed on the giant screen as it replayed my childhood dream. A Yorker at 150 Kilometres was all it took to end my childhood dream.
But as I neared the pavilion, I felt my heart light and my head with immersed in the joy of tasting the dream that I had carried, nurtured, and hoped to live every minute for the last ten years. It was as if a huge boulder had been lifted from my shoulder and I could only wait and hope for my second innings.