He was a legend. The best batsman the world had witnessed. Some went to the extent of calling him God. And he started to feel like one. He wielded his bat like Thor did his hammer. It was his weapon. And more often than not—he slapped the ball out of the stadium with one clean stroke, struck fiercely with the sweet spot on his bat. It was the case of a warm knife gliding its way through butter. The minute the No. 10 of his jersey appeared on the pitch, a maddening roar engulfed him, as he opened the innings for his country. The roar gave him goosebumps even today. But he was a mere spectator now. The God on the pitch had changed form. A younger, cooler guy with a trendy beard and a unique style had replaced him. The people had forgotten—but at least the love for this game remained in his heart. Human or God, he loved to play it and everything else did not matter.
He thought of these things and so much more as the latest match played on this phone. Even today, he never missed a game played by his country. Even the thought of doing so was blasphemous. He gorged on a succulent chicken, reimagining the pitch conditions at Eden Gardens—and played a set of permutations and combinations of strategies with every over that was bowled to the opposition. And then he thought, maybe being human was good. He had never imagined sitting in a plush mall, binging on his favourite salad and enjoying his favourite game. So he devoured the rest of the caramelised shallots, rockets and traces of barley and felt grateful for his career.
Feeling full with the generous portion of the salad, he smiled, looking at the world differently. He noticed a bunch of boys playing gully cricket at the end of the street. It felt like ages since he had played the game. So he parked the car and suddenly, he felt a jolt of excitement trickle through his veins. Getting off his Audi, he asked the group of boys if he could join them. They looked young—definitely not born in the era of his golden years. He braced himself for them to decline his request. But the minute they saw him, everyone went quiet. It took them a good 7 minutes to shake off the shock. That day, the boys played an over with the God of cricket. And he felt the goosebumps as he wielded his weapon yet again. With every passing second, the gully was turning into a stadium. And his powers—they were working.