There is never a dull moment in Indian cricket. The dreaded ‘R’ word has finally caught up with the ‘God of Indian cricket,’ Sachin Tendulkar. When a legend decides to call it a day, we feel sad and emotional.
We reflect on the special moments that one had witnessed while watching the Master.
The time had come for the Master Blaster to reflect on his life.
People had started questioning his very existence and the last nail must have been drilled when there seemed to have been talk of an approach from the BCCI to ask him to bid his farewell on his 200th Test match. He gave us a feeling that he will continue as he is still relishing the game but like his phenomenal reading of his opponents and the situation when he batted, he would have gauged what was best for him.
Every Indian has been touched by his brilliance and dedication.
It has been a journey of herculean achievements for the greatest cricket legend of modern times.
He has been respectful to every former cricketer and always addresses us as ‘Sir’. One felt humble and proud that he still imbibed the Indian culture of respecting the elderly.
The day he announced his retirement, I was on a television show with Milind Rege (former captain of the Mumbai Ranji team) when the phone rang, and behold, it was Sachin on the line, calling him to thank him for the support, and confidence he bestowed in giving him the chance to play for Mumbai as a junior and senior player.
Naturally, this brought tears to the eyes of Milind. It just showed the human side of one of our greatest performers, who sat down in his days of dusk to remember each person who had played a role in making his dreams and wishes come true.
I watched and marvelled at his maiden Duleep Trophy century and the way he mauled the Australian’s by getting a double century in a warm up game at the CCI. I rate his maiden hundred at the Old Trafford as his best, as he showed a deep inherent and mature character in ensuring that India did not lose the Test.
On that day he showed that he had not only the skill but the mental strength as well to overcome all odds.
His batting has the gift of balance and timing, and even in his youth he displayed the technique of a Gavaskar and the aggression of a Viv Richards.
Shane Warne told me an interesting tale about his retirement.
He had unofficially decided to retire during the Ashes series in 2006-07 and was still well short of the magical figure of 700 wickets.
It suddenly dawned on him whether he would be able to reach it. He said lady luck smiled on him and he was just one short before the Melbourne Test match.
(The writer is a former India Test cricketer)
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