It is only April, but it would be safe to say that one of the greatest sporting stories of 2019 has already unfolded at Augusta in the United States. Surely, Tiger Woods winning the Masters, at the age of 43, will take some beating.
A few hours before the golfing legend’s extraordinary feat at the Augusta National Golf Club, in distant Kolkata, Imran Tahir was equally busy turning the clock back.
The 40-year-old leg-spinner took four for 27 to lead Chennai Super Kings against Kolkata Knight Riders.
The South African deservedly walked away with the Man-of-the-Match award.
It was another ageing soldier who took the individual honours in the Super Kings’ opening match. Off-spinner Harbhajan Singh, 38, took three for 20 against Royal Challengers Bangalore in Chennai.
Proving his worth: A.B. de Villiers has scored four half-centuries in eight games.
Shane Watson is only a year younger than Harbhajan. And he was the Man-of-the-Match in CSK’s next game.
The 37-year-old opener from Australia made 44 off 26 balls to lead the team’s successful chase against Delhi Capitals.
Leading the most successful team at the IPL is of course a man who is of the same age as him — M.S. Dhoni.
No captain in cricket is as astute as him — ‘He is one captain I would like to play under,’ said former England all-rounder Paul Collingwood a few days ago — he is as agile as anyone behind the wicket, while in front of it, few handle a crisis as well as he does.
When CSK, batting first, was reduced to 27 for three by Rajasthan Royals, he responded with an unbeaten 75 off 46 balls.
Again when CSK was tottering at 24 for four, chasing 152 against the same team, he replied with 58 (43b). Chennai won the two games and he was the Man-of-the-Match on both the occasions.
The Gayle force
Chris Gayle has won that award only once for Kings XI Punjab this season, but the 39-year-old has been another shining advert for ‘old is gold’ at this IPL.
His scores so far are 79, 20, 40, 5, 16, 63 and 99 not out.
Men like A.B. de Villiers and Lasith Malinga are not exactly getting younger at 35, but they have been quite superb as well.
The South African genius, who quit international cricket last year, has made four fifties from his eight matches for RCB, while the Sri Lankan pacer celebrated his return to the Mumbai Indians eleven with a Man-of-the-Match award-winning figures of four for 31.
There may be nothing quite refreshing like youthful vigour in sport, but Woods and, closer home, these champion cricketers have shown how passion and talent could defy age.