On a beautiful Sunday morning, I woke up a bit late, had tea n some breakfast. I was reading newspaper when suddenly my cell ranged. It was my friend, who informed me ,“abe joshya, Sachin ni retirement ghetli one day madhun”. Ohh …I was shocked..I tuned on TV just to confirm the news…yes, all the news channels were telling the same news by their usual way of exaggeration. I turned it off. I was stunned like the world around me is stopped. After sometime I started talking to myself.
“Was this unexpected??
“Is it wrong time to declare?”
“Is it right decision or Wrong?”
“Well…I don’t know”
Then suddenly a thought came in my mind
“Everything that begins has to end somewhere. And this is the beginning of that End”
Now I am bit relaxed. I guess, this is not the moment to get sad .It’s a moment to cherish all those great n joyful memories you have given to us. Sachin, truly, Cricket wouldn’t have been Cricket if it was not you. At least to the entire generation born in 1980s, it was you who taught us “C” of Cricket.
I don’t remember since when I started admiring you. That’s because ever since I started watching cricket it was only you & you. My love for cricket evolved & revolved around you.
A 16 year old innocent Indian boy went to Pakistan & stood infront of Imran Khan,Wasim Akram & Waqar Yunus where not only the bowlers & fielders but entire nation was looking at him as if they wanted to kill him just by their eyes. But the boy was determined to save the test match. He played like a 16 year experienced player & saved that test match for India. He not only survived from Yorkers n bouncers of Waqar Yunus but he converted many of them to boundaries .He destroyed all-time great leg Spinner Abdul Qadir like anything.
Then the boy went to Australia to face Craig Mcdermot & young Glenn McGrath. He crafted his every inning in such a way that Australian media started comparing him to Sir Don Bradman.
Well , This was just a beginning. The boy went on playing series by series for 23 years . He became the greatest Batsman Ever in Cricket! The high point in his career was, Not a single time he was dropped from team due to his poor performance.
Sachin, You are a legend!
There was lot of talk going on for your retirement these days. Actually the reason for all this is not your performance. It is the benchmark you have set for yourself. We expected century from you every time you are on crease. Yes…we are fools! We always want compensation of our own personal failures in life from you. For 23 years you have carried expectations of millions like me.
At the age of 16, you came to limelight of media. Wherever you went media followed you .Not a single time you misbehaved with any of them nor you made any controversial statement. I sincerely salute you for your patience & Maturity. I always wonder, How Sachin never gets angry? Or What Sachin must be doing when he is angry? Meditation or something? Possibly yes. But I guess your way of meditation is playing cricket. Maybe your love & respect for this game is the inner source of energy for you. That’s why I never wanted you to stop playing cricket.
Sachin ,during you era , you played against some of the all-time finest bowlers likes Ambrose,Walsh,Alan Donald,Shaun Pollock,Akram,Waqar, Warne,Murlidharan,Macgrath. Sincerely I don’t remember any bowler other than Macgrath has ever dominated you for longtime. You always had answers for them. For Macgrath, I will only say you both are equally great in your areas so maybe neither of you could win consistently. But it was always a treat to watch your encounters. The way you destroyed Shoaib Akhtar or Henry Olanga in a single spell was amazing. I do remember, you hit 2 consecutive sixes to Saqlein Mushtak when you played him first time. I am still confused what to call that shot ,when you hit Andrew Caddik out of the stadium in WC 2003. Was it a hook or pull? Whatever …. Who can forget your ever dominance on Shane Warne? Whatever I have heard, you developed paddle sweep shot only for Shane Warne. During your “Desert Storm” innings in Sharjah, I have seen helplessness on every aussie’s face. You played like a rocket , Unstoppable!
Whenever I wonder about your best innings ever, I could never come to a conclusion. Whether it is 117 against Pakistan in Chennai , or Desert Storms of Sharjah or 98 against Pakistan in WC or 65 against Srilanka in WC Semifinal 1996 or 200* against South Africa or 194* against Pakistan or 241* against Australia or 140 against Keniya or 188* against NewZealand….Ohh God…I am completely messed up.
Some people do have questions on your captainship ability. But well, same people appreciated Dhoni’s illogical decisions when India was winning. And now same bunch of people are criticizing his decisions when India is losing! So forget it.Though you were not leading Indian team but you were the true leader of Indian Cricket for last 15 years. When India performed poorly in first two matches of WC 2003 & Mohammad Kaif’s home was attacked by Indian Fans, It was you who came forward & requested fans to calm down. It was you who supported Harbhajan Sing in Monkey gate episode. It was you who boosted Yuvraj Sing during his badpatch. It was you who suggested Dhoni’s name for Captainship in 2007. I agree, team didn’t perform well under your captaincy. But the foremost reason for that is, You didn’t have any other Sachin Tendulkar to play for you like all other captains had !
There was a time when our team was completely dependent on you. “Get Sachin n Match is ours” was the motto of opponents. But luckily after arrival of Ganguly, Dravid n Laxman the things changed drastically. Indians realized that there is something called as “Middle order” in the batting lineup. As in past there was Only Sachin Tendulkar & then tail enders!
I consider You, Ganguly ,Dravid & Kumble as four pillars of modern Indian Cricket. One by one each pillar was retiring or was forced to retire. But you stood still. Maybe you thought, Team still needs you . But yes, I guess the effect of age was taking toll on you. Your performance was not up to the benchmark set by you. And as you rightly said, After scoring 99 International hundreds you were taught importance of 100th hundred by everyone. And today you decided to call it a day atleast for ODI.
Sachin, you will be missed on cricket field for your gentle arrogance against opponents, for your straight drive, for your paddle sweep, for your late cut, for the way you used construct your innings, for the way of showing your bat towards sky after scoring century(I think this act should be copyrighted by you!), for your amazing running between wicket, for your involvement in every aspect of game, for your to ability bowl strange deliveries sometime(Moin Khan still wonders ,how that ball went on stumps!), for your ability to hit down the track six to fast bowlers, for everything & anything, AND FOR BEING SACHIN TENDULKAR FOR 23 YEARS !!
Sachin, you are one of the most beautiful things that happened in my life. Thanks for being there!
A Standing Ovation from,