There won’t be one like Sachin, there won’t be one like Allen Iverson either

There won’t ever be a cricketer like Sachin Tendulkar — at least for many Indian fans like yours truly — even though the magnificent Virat Kohli is raising hopes, batting like no one before has in ODIs.

At a time when Tendulkar is putting the finishing touches to a glittering career, a stupendous basketball stalwart in faraway US has pulled the plug on his stint on the court.

Basketball player Allen Iverson (L) and cricketer Sachin Tendulkar: two legends who are calling it a day.

The 6-foot nothing Allen Iverson towered above many a player in the NBA.

Tattooed and diminutive in front of 7-foot plus goliaths such as Shaquille O’Neal and almost everybody else in the league, AI’s dazzling ball skills steered his team, the Philadelphia 76ers, to great heights against the run of play.

The nitpickers, of course, point to his lack of NBA championship rings every time the word great is thrown around him. Cut him some slack, not that he needs any.

The undersized guard belonged and dominated in the league of giants with a great heart. The Sixers rode into the 2001 NBA finals on his shoulders.

We could peddle AI’s stats, but that just isn’t the way of the true romantic.

For instance, would it have been romantic if John Keats gave out Fanny Brawne’s stats (who cares?) instead of innumerable amazing lines such as “A thing of beauty is a joy forever”.

The analogy is quite a stretch and doesn’t quite hold, but you do get the picture. Of course, apologies to romantic poetry fans.

Suffice to say, the pint-sized AI had the X-factor. He held his own even against Michael Jordan.

Game sense, court positioning and extreme speed. He was one of those who could almost be everywhere on court at the same time.

In the NBA, the court is rarely a place for people his build. AI, who brought in bling into the league before the world and its wife became blingy, has said goodbye on his terms after almost four years out of the limelight.

He will be a Sixer “til I die”. The team is paying the 38-year-old the greatest tribute possible in the team sense — his no. 3 will be retired on March 1.

He walks out and should walk into the Hall of Fame. In any case, he breezes into many a dream team. Thank you for the memories AI.

Take a bow Saurav Ghosal

Saurav Ghosal has become the first Indian to make World Squash quarters, becoming a torchbearer for the sport in India.

He scripted history at the AJ Bell PSA World Squash Championship, the most prestigious men’s competition in the sport. Even as this is being posted, our world No. 17 will be up against it.

Standing in the way of his dream run is world No.1 Ramy Ashour of Egypt. No matter what, it is time to give his feat the recognition it deserves.

Be a sport. Keep playing

Ipsit Mohapatra

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