Sachin Tendulkar’s jersey No.10 will be missed

Author : Ashwin Krishnamurthy

I don’t hail from Mumbai nor do I make my living there. I don’t speak Marathi and my Hindi is limited to ‘Mujhe hindi malum nahi’. Yet, I’m a true Mumbai Indian. When Harbhajan slapped Sreeesanth, I cursed him. When they lost their way at the end of season one – losing matches they ought to have won – I cried. Like Ambani, I had worn same shirts on match days hoping it would bring good luck. I feared myself breaking something when they lost in the semis and finals consistently. They were a bunch of under-performing overachievers.

Sachin Tendulkar in action for the Mumbai Indians

Still it was my team. It always felt so. Like a magnet attracting iron filings towards it, Sachin attracted me. There is more to him than just numbers and records. Sachin has a different meaning to many. He makes people like me cross borders, forget a team from their city to support his. He transformed how One Day cricket was played. Many greats could stake a claim to be better than him or equal to him in Tests. But in coloured clothes, he is unparalleled. The game evolved with him. It’s sad that we will not see him wearing his No.10 jersey after this tournament.

In many ways, he symbolizes Mumbai Indians. The team has grown with him. At times, they had relied too heavily on him. For those who followed Mumbai closely know the Tendulkar effect. Much of the first season was lost due to a groin injury. In a close match against Punjab, he got out at the wrong time. Yet, he went to Robin asking him to stay calm and steer his team home. They lost by a run as Yuvi tried a Jonty. In a must-win against Rajasthan, Sachin took a magnificent catch to dismiss Watson. The subsequent reaction demonstrated the commitment he has to the team.

The second season was a disaster. They never got the team right, struggled to win consistently. Sachin’s captaincy was below par too. Yet, he tried to inspire constantly. He saved himself and Sanath for the latter half against Rajasthan. The move backfired as they lost too many wickets for too few runs. He stood there absorbing pressure, delaying the charge. When he got out, Nayar briefly threatened to pull off a heist before the left-hander did a Tendulkar. He left the crease without realizing where the ball was.

Third season was the best he played as a player and captain. He came on top of the leading run scorers list. The way he handled Rayudu and Tiwary was highly laudable. By promoting them, giving them responsibilities, he constantly surprised the opposition. They would have won the title, except for the brain fade at the end. Enough has been debated about the decision to delay Pollard. The innings against KKR, where he took apart Ishant Sharma, was a true master-class.

Fourth season saw him giving up captaincy to Harbhajan. The image of that season was the hundred he made against Kochi. For a man known to make centuries, this was the icing on the cake. 100 in a T20 is not that easy especially for a non-power hitter. The innings wasn’t a masterpiece. Still, it had Tendulkar’s authority all over it.

In the eliminator against Chennai, Mumbai were chasing a big target. The openers started to find some rhythm when a mix-up occurred. Sachin, fully aware of who the better batsman was at that moment, decided to sacrifice his wicket. He went to Dwayne Smith to remind him of a bigger cause before walking back to the pavilion. In another match against the same opposition in Mumbai, they faced another stiff task. Rohit and Sachin made batting look easy that day. A master and disciple were on display.

The sixth season finally broke the hoodoo. The opening combination of ageing superstars enticed many to turn up before their TV sets. Even though they failed, it was a treat to see them walk together. An injury prevented him from playing the last few games including the finals. The season also saw him dropping the bombshell – his retirement from the shortest format. The smiles of winning the cup were coupled with the sadness of his subtle announcement.

The stint with Mumbai Indians provided an opportunity for him to share his ideas with youngsters who, otherwise, would never have a chance to bat with him. His glaring captaincy errors overshadowed some of his brilliance. As a batsman, he improvised, innovated and evolved as a T20 pro. And we got to see an emotional Tendulkar at times. CLT20 provides him with one last chance to do all these.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the support for Mumbai Indians dwindles in the forthcoming seasons. Number 10 for one last time!

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Royal test for Kings

Royal test for Kings

Preview — Clash of philosophies between Australia-centric teams More »

Have nothing to prove to anybody — Sehwag

Have nothing to prove to anybody — Sehwag

The Nawab of Najafgarh says a good run in IPL could help his chances of a comeback on India's tour to England in June. More »

Duminy steals first win for Delhi

Duminy steals first win for Delhi

Furious fifties by Duminy and Dinesh Karthik end a long losing streak for the Daredevils. More »

Five things England must do to bounce back

Five things England must do to bounce back

England have appointed a new head coach in Peter Moores. More »

AB, Parthiv seal Bangalore's second win

AB, Parthiv seal Bangalore's second win

Royal Challengers overcame a stutter to cruise to the small target they were set by Mumbai Indians. More »

‘Felt like helpless minority’

‘Felt like helpless minority’

Former BCCI treasurer Ajay Shirke says emotions got the better of the Srinivasan and he tried to oversimplify things by calling Meiyappan an “enthusia… More »

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

Kevin Pietersen's hopes of reviving his international career appeared to end Saturday when ECB managing director Paul Downton said there was 'no way back'… More »

The world record that nearly wasn't

The world record that nearly wasn't

Twenty years ago this week, Brian Lara became Test cricket's highest scorer, but he almost didn't make it. More »

Srinivasan can attend BCCI meeting

Srinivasan can attend BCCI meeting

His status as president of TNCA makes him eligible to attend the Working Committee meeting on Sunday. More »

Moores gets second stint as coach

Moores gets second stint as coach

In a two-year spell from 2007 to 2009, the 51-year-old Moores led England in seven Test series. More »

Bangladesh senior players to see shrink

Bangladesh senior players to see shrink

Bangladesh's senior players will have three sessions with a psychological skill development coach later this month More »

Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Glenn Maxwell seems to project an icy disdain when at the crease. Match situations rarely faze him and the bubble in which he plays excludes everyone … More »

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

Dalmiya feels that Srinivasan’s ‘power hungry’ attitude isn’t helping matters. More »

Tough for bowlers: Saeed Ajmal

Tough for bowlers: Saeed Ajmal

The 36-year-old believes the T20 format and rule changes in 50-over matches have made a real difference. More »

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

Kevin Pietersen has ridiculed the idea of day-night Test cricket, saying the game would be so different to proper Test cricket that we will need a whole… More »

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

The bowlers restricted Hyderabad to 133 for 6 before Rahane and Binny took Rajasthan over the line. More »

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

The Kings XI batsman blasted a 43-ball 95 to help his team pull off a massive chase against Chennai Super Kings. More »

BCCI members want independent probe

BCCI members want independent probe

The board members are realising after the Supreme Court's observations that something has to be done — IS Bindra More »

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

Two former BCCI presidents, Shashank Manohar and Jagmohan Dalmiya, have reacted strongly to the news of the BCCI calling an emergent meeting on Sunday… More »

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Preview — The threat of Sunil Narine looms large again. More »

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Preview — Given the firepower in both line-ups, Dubai crowd may see another high-scorer More »

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj Singh was hardly convincing to begin with against Delhi, but a big dose of crowd support and a helping of poor bowling meant he had the opportunity… More »

Stressed Trott stands down again

Stressed Trott stands down again

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Friday confirmed that batsman Jonathan Trott is to take another break from all cricket with immediate eff… More »

PCB starts another coach hunt

PCB starts another coach hunt

The PCB has decided to not extend the contracts of head coach Moin Khan, fielding coach Shoaib Mohammad and batting consultant Zaheer Abbas, and has invited… More »