Little did Sunrisers Hyderabad spinner Karn Sharma know that the six Sachin Tendulkar hit off him over long-on in Mumbai on May 13 would prove to be so significant.
Tendulkar walked off the field with tendon damage in his hand immediately thereafter, and Mumbai Indians went on a rampage to not only win that match, but also lift the Indian Premier League trophy for the first time in six attempts. In the midst of the celebrations, Tendulkar casually announced his retirement from the IPL. With no Tests scheduled in India till late next year, home fans will probably get only a few more chances to watch him — during the domestic season this winter, before he hangs up his boots for good.
“I think this is the right time to stop playing IPL. I am 40. I have to face the reality. I had decided that this would be my last season,” Tendulkar said. “For the World Cup, I had to wait for 21 years and [for] this for six years. So, it’s never too late. It’s the perfect way to end.”
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Karn told MAIL TODAY that he was still in awe of the man whom he had idolised all his life.
“I had no problem with that six he hit, because not many batsmen would’ve been able to whack that delivery the way he did. It was a good ball. Luckily for the team, he walked off after that, because he was beginning to take the game away from us. We lost in the end, but it was great to be able to bowl to Sachin,” he said.
Those who have shared the Mumbai Indians dressing room with Tendulkar were no less complimentary, and the scenes weren’t too different from those at the Wankhede Stadium two years ago, when teammate after teammate carried Tendulkar around on a lap of honour and dedicated the World Cup triumph to him.
Mumbai skipper Rohit Sharma said: “It’s good to see a big smile on his face. It really shows how much this trophy means to him. His presence in the dressing room was a huge boost. It gives confidence to lot of young players. Whenever he was needed, he was there.”
Ambati Rayudu dedicated the victory to Tendulkar. “I think he is the one who is the backbone of the team,” he said.
Harbhajan Singh, one of the cricketers closest to Tendulkar on the personal front, paid rich tributes too.
“Sachin is someone who has supported me in tough times. He has been pivotal in Mumbai Indians’ success and we will all miss him now that he has announced his retirement,” he said.
Reproduced From Mail Today. Copyright 2013. MTNPL. All rights reserved.