But......but... Dada gave us much more. A resolute, patient 141-ball, 83-run knock full of his trademark flamboyance with no less that 13 boundaries. His innings in partnership with Irfan Pathan's whisked us out of a grand top-order mess yet again.
What's behind all this? Wanna know from someone from his city? Well, after he got the unceremonious boot from the national test team by Chief Selector Kiran More and co. early this year, he got into this introspection- Am I finished? Do I have it in me to serve Indian cricket for a few more years? He never got a negative answer from his inner self. And that's when he formed this rock-solid determination to get a recall to team by sheer merit of his bat, complimented by bowling and an amazing level of fitness by his own standards. He achieved all that before he left for South Africa.
His physical training this time had unusual elements like parachute training and yes, believe it or not, kick-boxing. We've seen him training all these months on television. The silent determination from this unusually calm person was a mismatch with his aggressive, brave, never-say-die image embedded in our mind. But that was a man possessed.
I was aghast to know how the team treated this real hero back at the pavillion after his dismissal yesterday. Our 'celebrity coach' was away with the players to have an 'urgent' net session (To escape from a shameful situation, Mr Chappell?). Reportedly there was barely anybody to greet him in the dressing room. Has cricket ceased to be a gentleman's game this side of the world? The absence of warmth, the willingness to give the credit where it is due, turning back on the face of a rocking achievement suggest just that. Shame, Team India, shame !!