Robin Singh's face reflected all the expressions and emotions of a man's life-span during his recent great but short innings in the July 1 one-dayer against Sri Lanka at the SSC grounds. He made only 50 runs but it was an epic innings, containing all the nuances and cadences of a Tchaikovsky concerto, with all the pathos and bathos.
Agony and ecstasy seemed to be frozen in his face as with tremendous grit--which I hitherto thought was a traditional quality only of Thomians--he stayed at the crease, batting on, battling on for his country. Robin's shirt was stuck to his skin and one could see on the TV screen that sweat was streaming down his face . He was tight-lipped and often his forehead was creased with the lines of despair, but he was intent on keeping his wicket intact at all costs.
The batsman's trousers were muddied from a fall trying to avoid a run-out and the red light of the third umpire.
Robin singh's innings seemed to portray to me at least life itself and reminded me of the poem 'Invictus' where Henley wrote:
'Under the bludgeoning of chance
'My head is bloody but unbowed.'
Singh was a tortured soul that day, fighting every inch for his India, evoking themes from the 'Pathetique' symphony it seemed .
Moments later, the batsman 'threw out' and any viewer would not have failed to feel moved to see this pathetic sight. He was overwrought by emotion and exhaustion, but his captain at the other end said 'hold on, hold on,' bringing to mind the boy who stood on the burning deck trying to bring victory to his country, impossible as it was.
A desperate attempt to hit out and perhaps score a boundary ended in failure as substitute fielder Mahela Jawawardene took the catch off Sanath Jayasuriya (God's gift to Sri Lanka cricket), and jumped for joy, throwing imaginary punches and being hugged by his team-mates.
There was something very touching about that short but inspired innings, and the sight of the cricketer struggling to bring victory to his team.
We won the match, but Robin Singh taught us what the game of life is with its high and low tides. To me, Robin Singh won the 'Heart of the Match' award.