Television

Starsports.coms Sachin Redux

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He didn’t just play cricket, he wrote history. And, legions of fans watched Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar as he broke record after record, bringing India glory after glory…

Fittingly, the website selling 6,000-odd tickets to the master blaster’s 200th and final test match starting today at the Wankhede Stadium, garnered a staggering 20 million hits. Whereas the stadium saw a snaking queue outside, with some people even managing to catch a few winks before they got to the ticket counters.

Indeed, all the excitement around Sachin’s retirement is but a testimony to the love and adulation he has earned after 24 long and hard years in the game. But for the many cricket buffs out there who can’t seem to get enough of the master blaster, the Starsports.com team has come up with a special feature called #SachinMemoryProject on social media platforms.  

The project gives Sachin aficionados an opportunity to recollect all the great moments in his life. It tracks chronologically not only what happened in the cricketing legend’s life over the past 24 years but world events that unfolded even as his career was taking shape.

The #SachinMemoryProject brings back almost all Sachin moments in a slide show format, with each anecdote also on the timeline of the Star Sports official facebook page as well as twitter handle. It is rich in content and clubbed with text and videos of eminent people holding forth on the cricketer as well as Sachin talking about his life and times.

“With the project, we wanted to give fans something special. Almost everybody in the media industry is running a special series on the cricketer but we wanted to create a memorabilia of sorts. Something that is easy to consume and something with which everyone can relate,” says Star India head of digital business Ajit Mohan.

The #SachinMemoryProject ‘begins from the beginning’, with the first slide of Sachin as a 14-year-old, along with Vinod Kambli, putting up 664 runs for Shardashram, the highest scoring partnership in school cricket. In less than two years, he would go on to make his test debut for India.

The latter slides reveal lesser known facts about the stalwart. For instance, the ‘main khelega’ slide highlights that moment in 1989 when Sachin had just started his international innings and his contemporaries were yet to get an idea about his patience levels. “With Pakistan pressing for victory, Sachin is hit on the nose by a rising Waqar delivery. As doctors try to stop the blood gushing from his nose and get him off the field, his batting partner Sidhu hears a squeaky voice say ‘main khelega’. Sachin continued batting in a blood soaked shirt, scoring 50 and saving the match for India,” reads the slide.

Another slide brings to the fore Sachin’s competitive streak even as a 16-year-old. “During the Pakistan tour, Sachin lost a game of table tennis to Sanjay Manjrekar. Sachin challenged Manjrekar to another game, beat him. Beat him again before calling it quits. Even as a 16-year-old, he didn’t like losing,” it says.

According to Mohan, a separate team of 15 people was designated to work on the project three months ago. “All the members of this team are passionate Sachin fans and are aware of the many nitty-gritties of his life. While working on the project, we also discovered many unknown facts about him. Those were the moments of serendipity,” he says cheerfully.

Interestingly, the Sachin moments are juxtaposed with important events happening across the globe around the same time. For example, things like who took charge as India’s PM or which actor became a phenomenon while the cricketer was busy adding another century to his portfolio, etc.

A slide titled ‘The American President(s)’ reads: “George Bush Sr. is elected President of the United States. Sachin's career ran alongside that of four US Presidents, and seven terms, including two terms of George Bush Jr.”

Mohan says the idea was to chart the 24-glorious years in the best possible way. “He has stayed in action for a very long time. By mentioning the other consequential events during the period in the project, we have just tried to bring to the fore the fact that the world changed in the long period that he has played and maintained his stature as one of the best cricketers in the world,” he says.

Not surprisingly, #SachinMemoryProject, which was uploaded on Tuesday, has already grabbed a lot of eyeballs. “We are witnessing almost 25 to 30 thousand views in a day and each viewer is spending at least 30 minutes on it,” says Mohan, adding, “After watching the slide show, most viewers become very emotional and nostalgic while commenting. Viewers are writing about their personal memories associated with particular matches.”

Mohan points out that the team working on the project didn’t get new quotes from industry for the videos included in the slide show preferring instead to utilize their time packing the project with information. “Over the years, we have built a bank of such videos that have matter on Sachin. We just utilised our resources well and aggregated all those to create this unmatchable show,” he rounds off.

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