Rarely ever has a man's dream been a nation's aspiration and that is what the phenomena of Sachin Tendulkar has been all along since he captured India's imagination as a 16-year old curly-haired boy who dared to take on the ferocious Pakistani bowling attack. 22 years down the lane he is still the apple of India's eye despite the presence of many other luminaries and as India goes in to the finals of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011, the setting is a convergence of a billion dreams, a single ambition and a feat that was hitherto improbable.
When Sachin takes the field for the World Cup final against Sri Lanka on April 2, he will be walking into probably his last World Cup game. Playing the game in Mumbai, the place where he hails from and learnt his trade, sniffs of a divine conspiracy to let the man conquer the world from his home soil. If India wins it will be the first such instance of recording a World Cup victory on home ground and for Sachin, it will be the culmination of a dream he has nurtured since ages.
If the topic is Sachin, then it is impossible to delete the century aspect of cricket. Seating on 99 international centuries, Sachin is on the verge of his 100th ton, a feat never achieved before and unlikely to be attained again. There can never be a more apt and better occasion to bring in the 100th ton and place India on the summit of cricket.
Given the way he is playing, it would be insane to imagine him retiring from the game and I believe no cricket-lover wants that to happen anytime soon. He still has the 50th ODI century to score and conquer the summit of 20,000 ODI runs and not to mention the immediate task of securing the World Cup. But considering the fact that it might be his final World Cup game, there can be a no better backdrop, no bigger a target and no more specatcular a feat than what looms for Sachin on April 2.
The prospect of India winning the World Cup at Mumbai on the back of Sachin's 100th international century, is more than what any Indian cricket-fan can ask for. It was probably for this fitting finale that Sachin was never allowed by fate to be the part of a World cup winning side earlier as the setting could not be more grand and emotions so high.
The juxtaposition of 100th ton, a home final and the World Cup glory is something as rare as Sachin himself and it becomes only surreal given the love and adulation he enjoys from a billion odd population. There hasn't been a better match-winner for India than Sachin and despite all those tragic failings, more due to team failures and personal inadequacies, Sachin still remains destiny's favourite child and here again he has another chance to raise his pedestal further higher in the echeleons of cricketing history and Indian psyche.
It just can't get any better.