When Darren Sammy, the West Indies captain leaped high with glee after taking Sachin Tendulkar's edge to second slip at the Wankhede Stadium on the fourth day of the third and final Test between India and the West Indies, he broke the heart of a billion fans, who were waiting for that magical moment of watching Sachin get his coveted 100th century.
Sachin, himself, looked dejected as he paused and then trudged back to the pavilion after a glorious stroke-filled knock, which saw him coming close to getting that 100. He was out on 94, and this was the 10th time that Sachin got out scoring more than 90, but not a 100.
This moment was captured on television, showing fans shaking their heads in disbelief and some even bursting into tears.
The dismay was understandable for they had waited for this moment for too long, only to be disappointed all over again.
“I can understand the fans' disappointment, but just like Sachin, I had a job to do”, said bowler Ravi Rampaul, who surely was the most hated of the West Indies players at the Wankhede Stadium that day.
For several months now, the hype over Sachin's imminent 100th century had been building up to a crescendo.
When the Indian team left the shores for that disastrous tour of England, a section of the media was more obsessed with the prospect of Sachin's milestone than analysing whether India could take on the English Lions in their lair.
For the fans, nothing mattered as long as he got his 100, irrespective of whether India got whitewashed in the series. Sachin's ill luck continued throughout the series. Though he got past the half-century mark a couple of times, he never got that elusive century which would have brightened India's prospects.
All about destiny
Back home for the West Indies series, it was all about Sachin keeping a tryst with destiny. Alas, it never came. In a way, it is a good thing that he did not achieve it in a dead series, which India had already wrapped up in Kolkata.
Scoring a 100 against the world's seventh ranked team would have been an injustice.
One would rather see the Little Master blast a century on the upcoming tour of Australia, under far more trying conditions and against a much better bowling attack. A series win Down Under with a Sachin century, would be icing on the cake of the tour. But fans need to wait for that moment.
Is it pressure?
Is pressure getting under Sachin's skin? Hard to say; he never got out to a poor shot.
The one with which Ravi Rampaul snared him, would have got any great batsman out and Sachin had batted in his typical fashion with dazzling strokes. That he fell short of the century is part and parcel of the game. In sports you are never there unless you are actually there. .
To get to that Milestone 100, Sachin neither needs a sports psychologist's help nor does he have to work on his batting technique. Let him do it his way, batting naturally, and soon it will come.
Till then, let's wait.
Keywords: Sachin Tendulkar