So one day, that too on a Sunday, Sachin Tendulkar decides to retire, giving up on the only lucrative blue collar career in the world and opting to stick to cricket’s white collar day job. Sadly, his fans will not get to see him again on the field in coloured clothing, and those who watched him bat against Pakistan in Mirpur, will be thanking their stars for making it to the day/night match. From now on, India’s favourite batsman will not be seen at a World Cup, and there won’t be a number on his back.
That cricket has multiple formats, thankfully ensures that modern-day cricketers have the option of enjoying final hurrahs. By not choosing a day for a farewell game, Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar has ensured that he played his first and last ODI game for India against Pakistan. There is more than enough that happened in between, and it wouldn’t be wrong for a cricket fan to make memory cards out of the frames that No.10 used, to force fielders to run after the cricket ball.
A lot should rightly be written about his past, on the way he made full use of the opportunities that limited over cricket had to offer. It is no small achievement to score those many runs. People may not remember the zip code in their address, but will promptly recall every single digit in this figure -18426, accumulated over the time Manish Pandey has spent on the planet. Recall the 154 wickets that were taken with an action that resembled a fawn prancing around on a cricket field; also the 140 catches grabbed with evergreen palms, celebrated with the enthusiasm of a young boy rejoicing at the sight of his first bicycle. All in God’s name.
Can Sachin’s critics tell where the next Tendulkar is going to come from?
India like every other country, likes to iconify successful individuals, turning them into trophies that every home would proudly display. Add cable television to the mix, and you have the biggest reason for Tendulkar’s flight to success. Think about all those parents who named their sons after Sachin. For that curly hair under the helmet, straightened much later, kept the Indian family hooked to their TV sets and radios, sent young boys to cricket coaching camps with a dream- to play for the country.
When they returned home, they took out their bats to imitate his stance in front of the mirror, starting with the box being adjusted, and the knees moving east and west in one simultaneous movement. Nobody dared to laugh, for the man would be watching from the poster on the wallpaper. A hero who everyone liked, as he started from zero, with a bat that every man dreamt of owning, at any cost.
SRT’s success was celebrated as a festival. People got up from their seats at stadiums, when he came out to bat, shouted his name, wrote placards dedicated to him, in the hope that some kind cameraman would pan out his viewfinder in their direction. When the ball hit the sweet spot of his bat, the crowd had one eye on the ball as it raced away to the fence, and one on the little man as he jogged from one end to another. When he scored, they roared, when he fell, the silence had to be heard to be believed. A human being can have this effect on an entire nation, bring it together as he succeeds and as he fails, making it party and still send it to sleep saying sweet dreams.
For the record he hasn’t retired from the game yet.
Beamer: Sachin Tendulkar hasn’t retired from T20 cricket. Right?
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