What Sachin Tendulkar’s retirement means for Indian cricket

Zee Media Bureau

New Delhi: On a day when Indian cricket fans were gearing up for the high-profile limited series between India and Australia, the news of Sachin Tendulkar’s retirement came as a shocker.

Of late, there has been an intense debate as to when Tendulkar, arguably the greatest batsman to have graced the gentlemen’s game, should call time on his glittering career. Every day one would hear stories of his impending retirement on the horizon followed by swift denials.

However, one thing was certain – the retirement is around the corner and will soon be a reality.

And the announcement that an ardent Tendulkar fan dreaded the most finally came on October 10, 2013.

He had already announced retirement from ODIs last year but continued playing in the five-day format

In a letter to BCCI, Tendulkar revealed his intention to end his Test career after playing in his record 200th game for India against West Indies next month.

"All my life, I have had a dream of playing cricket for India. I have been living this dream every day for the last 24 years. It’s hard for me to imagine a life without playing cricket because it’s all I have ever done since I was 11 years old. It’s been a huge honour to have represented my country and played all over the world. I look forward to playing my 200th Test Match on home soil, as I call it a day.” Tendulkar wrote in his letter.

And his career has been a dream run for Indian cricket fans as well. From a boy wonder to a true legend, the 24-year-long career has seen India become a global cricketing superpower. Every time he walked to the middle, he carried the hopes of a billion-plus population. He delivered on most occasions and failed on a few. His exploits with the bat earned him almost every significant record that cricket could offer.

For a generation, it is an alien thought to imagine an Indian Test team not featuring Tendulkar. But after the series against West Indies, it will be a reality.

The presence of Sachin in the Indian team gave a humble fan the much needed hope that any target was achievable. His early departures ended all hopes for some no matter how many wickets or balls remained.

For many, the decision means that cricket won’t be the same again in the absence of a name that has become synonymous with Indian cricket in the last 24 years.

True, Tendulkar’s retirement leaves a void that will never be filled.