Sachin Tendulkar- The man of the “century”

Fri, Dec 20, 2013

Featured, News, Sports, Sports

I always dreaded this day would come. As much as me, and billions of other cricketing fans around the world never wanted this day to come, it was inevitable. We knew we would have to be prepared to face a situation where we won’t know if we should be happy that the legendary man who gave us a decade-and-a-half of pure bliss is finally going or if we should not let him say goodbye, knowing that there will never be another like him. But nothing could have prepared for this tough day. Reality is sometimes hard to accept.

The question of his retirement was looming from last few years. Some argued that it is the right time for this 40 year old to step down. There were still many who believed he could still contribute to Indian cricket despite his age. When Sachin announced that the 2 test match series against West Indies would be his last, there were mixed emotions.

When you want to understand why Tendulkar achieved this status in Indian hearts, everyone gives their own answers. There have been many great cricketers to grace Indian cricket. Gavaskar, Vishwanath, Kapil, Ganguly, Laxman, Dravid Then why did Sachin got elevated to demi-god status? To me the answer lies in not what he achieved in numbers, or how he achieved, but in circumstances in which he achieved those milestones. Sachin Tendulkar to me meant hope. If Sachin was on crease, no matter how big the target is, no matter who the opposition, if Sachin was batting, it gave us hope. Countless times he gave us hope and made the impossible possible. This started reflecting in his status in the country. From a small 16 year old to a man who was stripped of his human nature, where people expected him to be infallible. The pressure of scoring a 100 every time he walked out to bat. Although he could not score a 100 everytime, he did . 100 times in tests and ODIs combined. We Indians are not used to be THE BEST at something. Sachin is one of the few positive exceptions.

There will never be another Sachin. He single-handedly carried Indian cricket at a time when Indian  side was not as strong as it is today. He gave hope and smiles to a billion people. He gave us pride in sporting field, feeling of being “the best” at something, something which is not very common in India. He gave us memories. Unforgettable memories. For some of us who were fortunate enough to grow old watching him play, his stroke-play will remain with us till our last days, like “Sachiiin, Sachin” will remain with him.

I find it simply too difficult to answer which of his innings was the best? The 143 and 134 Desert Storm against Australia in Sharjah in 1998? Or the 98 run carnage against Pakistan in a crucial world cup game in 2003? Or the 175 vs Australia in Hyderabad in 2009 where he almost took away the certain victory from the visitors? And one can not forget the first ever double ton in ODIs. And who better to score it than the master of ODIs? It was against South Africa in 2010. At 37 years of age. *gulp*

sachin 200 in ODI South Africa

Reaction to Sachin 200 run South AFrica

Which of his shots you liked best? The perfect straight drive? The divine cover drive? The amazing leg glance? The one where he could hit a bowler over his head for a six with a bat as straight as a ruler? Or the mischievous shot he invented where he hit the ball over the keeper’s head for a four or a six? There is just too much beauty when he used to bat. Effortless, powerful beauty. Perfection.

The big question of who will replace him is easy to answer. No one can really fill his shoes. He was not just about runs and centuries. He was about carrying a billion dreams. And more importantly, fulfilling them. Consistently.

When he took stage for one final time, albeit with words, the little master thanked EVERYONE. His parents, siblings, coach, team-mates to his in-laws, managers, physios and not to forget, his fans. If there ever was an example to humility in greatness, it is this man. You could feel the love and respect he has for the game which has given him everything when he after the final lap of honor, went back to the 22 yards to pay his final homage.

sachin touching pitch

sachin tendulkar touching pitch

And the relationship shared by Sachin and the people of India is not one sided. If people of India gave him unlimited love, adulation and gave him a demi-god status, Tendulkar gave it all back. In form of runs and fulfilling the expectations. How much his fans mean to him was evident in his farewell speech when he choked up on hearing people cheering for him before he started his speech. He had to request his fans to calm down so that he does not get too emotional. That is the kind of bond the two sides shared. The love, admiration and respect was mutual.

Thank you master for giving us Indians reasons to cheer in tough times. Giving us something for us to savor forever. We know we Indians fans can be tough to handle at times, but thank you for never failing us. Sorry for burdening you with a billion unrealistic expectations everytime you walked into the field. But then, it was your own making. You should have never played like god!

He is amongst the most influential, important Indians ever. The little master. The legend. The kohinoor of India. The “Bharat Ratna”. You may have retired from cricket, but you can never retire from our hearts. Thank you, thank you, thank you!.

A lot of us will go through Kübler-Ross’s  five stages of grief. Denial-Anger-Bargaining-Depression-Acceptance. It will take some time reaching that fifth and final stage.

If you feel goosebumps when you see him one last time as an Indian cricketer, feel them. If you feel a lump in your throat bidding him good bye, relax. If you feel like crying, please do so. It is a result of the decades of  immense mutual love he and people of India shared. It is a very special bond. If the big little man can cry on the occasion of it being “broken”, you can too.



I’ll leave you with a few moments from his farewell test.

India v West Indies 2nd Test Day 3

Sachin Tendulkar guard of honor last test


 India fan reaction Sachin retirement

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