Watching Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara dominate bowlers in the 1990s time and again, while obviously enjoying the moment, the mind would always wander off to that wonderful fantasyland, a land where Tendulkar and Lara are in the same team, and forge a partnership for the ages, the kind of understanding and alliance, which would have left most bowlers in tears. That magical left and right-hand combination, with both players possessing pretty much every shot in the book.
When they were in their pomp, there really was no better spectacle than watching Tendulkar and Lara bat. So, imagine the two doing it together -- caressing those cover drives, playing those lofted shots straight down the ground or using that delightful late cut to great effect.
Unfortunately, the only way to imagine the two batting together in their prime was to do just that – imagine. With the advent of the Cricket All Stars, though, that fantasy has become a reality, even if the two batsmen are no more the Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara of old.
The crowd in New York, and millions watching on their televisions around the world, did not get the opportunity to watch Lara and Tendulkar bat together in the first T20 on Saturday, as the latter got out first; however, there is another opportunity to witness two of the modern-day legends bat together in the 2nd T20 in Houston.
There will be another chance in the final T20 of the Cricket All Stars Series in Los Angeles as well, but what we all want to see at the Minute Maid Park in Houston is a Tendulkar and Lara classic – not brutal hitting that T20 is known for, but the touch and the conventional shots and the calculated-i-know-exactly-where-the-ball-is-going strokes over the top.
Everyone got to see a similar partnership in the first T20 when Ricky Ponting – the other batsman who is right there in that Tendulkar and Lara category of the late 90s and early noughties – and Kumar Sangakkara – a great of the more recent past – put on a batting clinic. There were no outrageous throws of the bat in this partnership; it was all about control and picking the right moments to stroke the ball to the boundary or into the stands.
That partnership proved to be crucial in Warne's Warriors opening up the Cricket All Stars with a win over Sachin's Blasters, and Tendulkar and Lara will want to make the same impression in Houston on Wednesday.
If Sachin and Lara find their mojo, everything else will pale in comparison (yes, even watching the peerless Wasim Akram bowl again).
For that to happen, though, Lara needs to find his groove. In his short stay in the middle in the first match, the West Indian legend looked completely out of touch, like he hadn't picked up a bat seriously for years.
Hopefully that first match would have taken off the rust from that glorious willow of his with his timing coming back, and what everyone will talk about at the end of the match will be: "Oh wow, what a partnership that was between Sachin and Lara. I can't believe I just saw them bat together, and play like that. Dream come true, man!"