The day Sachin Tendulkar announced his retirement...
Even though almost all of us saw it coming, October 10, 2013 will be a day which die-hard Sachin Tendulkar fans will not forget in a hurry. This was the day that the Little Master announced to a stunned world that his historic 200th Test against the West Indies will be his last, putting an end to his spectacular career of more than two decades.
The fact that Tendulkar would bid adieu to the game that has been his life for years now, sooner than later, had been doing the rounds for a while now. And there were reasons for it. He has been struggling with form for the last two years and his last century came more than two years ago.
His average or poor form must be weighing down on his mind and there was immense pressure on him to make way for a younger player. It was said that had someone else been in place of the God of Cricket, he would have been shown the door and it was only because it was the Master Blaster that the selectors were giving him a long rope. It was also said that the selectors had met with Sachin recently and had asked him as to what his future plans were. Thus, even though Sachin was not revealing much as to what lay ahead, speculations were rife that number 200 would be his last Test. In fact, it was said that the West Indies were invited to play in India in November so that Sachin could say farewell to the game on home soil.
So finally, one of the greatest batsman to have played the game and who has scored more than fifteen thousand runs in Tests till now at an average of 53.86, accepted the fact though the passion was still there, age had finally caught up with him. And he also probably did not want to make the same mistake, if we can say that, which he did when he dragged on his ODI career. Most people felt then that Tendulkar should have quit the shorter version of the game after India won the World Cup in 2011. The argument put forward was that he had achieved everything that he had to in the ODIs and he was just blocking another player’s place in team, especially when he was not the same Sachin that he was in his hay days.
And then suddenly, in December last, he released a press statement saying that he was drawing curtains on his ODI career. His fans had been stunned then too. Everybody wanted him to play one last game and say goodbye in front of a full house and amidst applause that he so deserved. But it was not to be.
However, even though this time around too, he did not address a press conference to let the world know that he would only be playing two more Tests now, at least the solace is that we know about his last series, so that we can live every moment of it and cherish it for the rest of our lives. And even though it will take time to accept the fact that Sachin will not be around anymore, the fact is that it hurt his fans every time he struggled, as all of us desperately wanted him to go on a high. There were raging debates about whether Sachin was dragging his Test career too and whether he should have called it quits a year back or so, but now that he has actually made the decision, he has left a void in our hearts which will be difficult if not impossible to fill.
For our generation that has grown up watching Sachin play innumerable innings and belting innumerable bowlers beyond the boundary, along with Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid, it`s difficult not to be emotional today. Sachin was not only about turning out for India and making the country proud by his astonishing achievements, it was also about the happiness and the pride that we felt by the fact that he was one of our own. He was not only about sublime batting and breaking all possible records in the cricketing arena, but he was also about the respect that he garnered around the world in the way that he carried himself - A perfect ambassador for the country and a prefect role model for his generation, even though he has been criticised for not taking stand on certain issues.
No wonder then, Sachin was not only loved and respected in his own country but was loved and respected all over the world. So, being a patriot and a lover of the game, we will root for the men in blue every time they will play and we will cheer loudly, every time somebody like a Dhoni or Kohli will demolish the opposition, but at the moment it is hard to imagine Indian cricket without Sachin.
Tendulkar said in his letter to the BCCI that it was hard to imagine a life without playing cricket because that was all he had done ever since he was eleven years old. Well, for Sachin fans it will be hard to imagine Team India without the batting legend. I guess Sachin fans will have just one wish as of now – that he scores as many runs as he can in the last two Tests and spend as much time as he can on the crease, because once he is going to walk back to the pavilion, leaving his teary-eyed fans, after playing his last innings, we will never see the legend on the field again.
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