March 31, 2001. India are playing Australia in an ODI at Indore. Shane Warne is at his mark to bowl yet another over and Sachin Tendulkar is about to face up to him.
For a normal observer, this is like any other over. However, a die-hard fanatic knows something monumental is about to occur. Off the first ball of the over, Tendulkar plays one down to long off and takes the single that puts him beyond anyone else in 50-over cricket- the first man to reach the mark of 10000 ODI runs. Loud cheers followed as the crowd understood soon enough what had happened.
No one had been there before and it seemed then, none would as well. 50-over cricket was played differently back then and so, you didn't expect players to reach such feats with too much regularity.
Cut to 17 years later. India are staring down the barrel in their chase of 323 and another colossal figure in Indian cricket is on the verge of a feat like Tendulkar's. When the history of Indian ODI cricket is written, there is no doubting that for the sheer impact he has had, MS Dhoni will find his name next to his childhood hero.
When Dhoni steered a Liam Plunkett delivery to third man and took a run off it, he had touched mount 10000 in 50-over cricket, a moment that needed acknowledgment and praise, considering the manner in which he had gone about reaching the mark during the course of his career.
However, that wasn't the case. Instead, there was barely any reaction neither from the player nor the crowd and during the course of his stay in the middle, all he got were boos from a packed house at Lord's for his lack of intent in trying to get India close to the target.
Very few in Indian or world cricket can predict with any kind of surety as to how Dhoni thinks. There is just no confirmation. Pundits predict something and most often, get it wrong. Only Dhoni knows what his next step is going to be.
On Saturday, however, there seemed neither any intent nor any logic behind his 59-ball 37. India needed to chase at close to 10 runs an over and here was Dhoni tapping the ball for a single, defending the spinners calmly, adjusting the velcro of his gloves.
Nobody knows how to anchor the chase better than him and so those watching proceedings knew that at some point, he would get a move on.
But that didn't happen at all. Even with the likes of Kuldeep Yadav in the middle, Dhoni for some reason seemed content. No attempt to clear the fence to even try and get a few somewhere close to the target.
Hence, when the single off Plunkett came, there was no hurrah to a moment that deserved acknowledgment. When he looks back on why so, Dhoni will realise he got it upon himself. Had the single come in between a series of boundaries and sixes, there might have been vociferous cheering in the stands, people might have stood and clapped and who knows the odd England player may have come and shaken his hand.
Going by recent form, the public knew he could do it. That he still had it in him to clear the fence and keep India in the run chase.
Instead, there was no feel to the moment. It had gone cold because of Dhoni's approach to the chase. No player likes to be booed at any venue and to see Dhoni get such a reaction at Lord's on Saturday felt a bit undeserving to the caliber of the player.
Maybe, he didn't care. Maybe, somewhere in his mind, he was numb to it, having seen so many ups-and-downs in his career. Maybe, he himself found it cold like everyone else watching did.