Where does the time go?

Updated: 08 October 2013 12:30 IST

Time was on the minds of many Indian cricket fans on Sunday night, as Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid graced a field together for the final time. For Tendulkar, it was a final game in a Mumbai Indians shirt. For Dravid, it was his last competitive outing. It really was the sort of occasion that made you sit up and ask: Where did the time go?

Where does the time go?

Nina Simone introduces her haunting rendition of Who Knows Where the Time Goes with a little monologue. "Time is a dictator as we know it," she says. "Where does it go? What does it do? Most of all, is it alive?"

Time was on the minds of many Indian cricket fans on Sunday night, as Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid graced a field together for the final time. For Tendulkar, it was a final game in a Mumbai Indians shirt. For Dravid, it was his last competitive outing. It really was the sort of occasion that made you sit up and ask: Where did the time go?

They came into the final of the Champions League Twenty20 with 91,659 runs between them across the three formats. Of their 231 hundreds, Tendulkar had scored 142. In the Test arena, their partnership - 6,920 runs, with 20 century stands - is unlikely to ever be surpassed. And the mutual regard was very evident in the build-up to the game.

They last played together in India colours at Adelaide in January 2012, at the end of a series that was lost 4-0. The intervening months had not been kind. Dravid had a decent IPL, but in previous CLT20 games, he had looked very much like a man who no longer played the game day in, day out. Tendulkar too had started the tournament poorly, before a lovely cameo against Trinidad & Tobago in the semifinal rolled back the years.

In the final, he was fortunate to survive a vociferous leg-before shout from Shane Watson when he had made just one. A lovely back-foot push for four off James Faulkner, feet so deep in the crease that you feared the bails might be dislodged, got the Feroz Shah Kotla crowd roaring, as did a neat glance for four off Watson.

When the next ball was dismissed with the most gorgeous of off-drives, you feared for eardrums inside the venue. But this was not the Tendulkar of Sharjah 1998, or the Centurion destroyer of 2003. This was a 40-year-old whose reflexes weren't quite what they once were, whose body was no longer in perfect sync with the mind. Watson's next ball jagged back off the seam, found a sizeable gap between bat and pad, and sent off stump cartwheeling.

Mumbai welcomed their talisman back to the dugout with a guard of honour. Dravid stayed out in the middle, making his plans, only to be stymied by a new generation of batsmen who knew no fear and whose bats came down like wrecking balls rather than scimitars.

His young guns, Sanju Samson (60 off 33 balls) and Ajinkya Rahane (65 off 47), kept Rajasthan in the game till the last, but by the time Dravid walked in at No. 8, they needed 44 from 18 balls. The first ball he faced was worked through midwicket for a single. The second, an inswinger from Nathan Coulter-Nile, a bowler he had wanted to sign before the last IPL, uprooted middle and leg stumps. And just like that, an era had passed. For those of a certain generation, the fact that Mumbai won was almost incidental.

The irony of the two old stagers being upstaged by someone their senior - and that too a Johnny Come Lately like Pravin Tambe - would have escaped no one. Nor should it be forgotten that the innings of the night came from Sanju Samson, an 18-year-old whose strokeplay hinted at a far-from-bleak future for Indian batsmanship.

The immediate feeling in the aftermath of the final, however, wasn't one of renewal. It was nostalgia. Where did the time go?

Topics : Cricket Rahul Dravid Sachin Tendulkar Mumbai Indians Rajasthan Royals
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