Its been exactly 24 years. From a 16-year old boy who made his debut on Nov 15th, 1989 to the God who never though that 74 runs would go down as history that no Cricket fan would forget. Even if you don’t love Cricket, there is no Indian who doesn’t love Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar.
As fans bid an emotional adieu to this Cricketing legend, I wondered and looked back on some of the other legends in Indian Cricket who retired not so long ago. And it baffles me that legends like Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly, VVS Laxman whose contribution to Indian Cricket is something to be remembered for, hardly got a send-off they deserve.
Its a pity that fans have forgotten the man who molded the Indian Cricket team during times of despair or “the wall” who opened when he had to, kept wickets when asked and lead the team when India had no one to turn to or the Hydrebad player whose intimacy with the tail won and saved many matches for India. On the other hand, we still remember Sachin’s coverdrive against Pakistan in 1996. Though none of these players’ individual record is even close to Sachin’s milestones, we forgot that a player’s influence on the game and the team is the same if not more when compared to one’s individual records. Remember, if not for Cricket, there won’t be any Sachin.
During Ganguly’s reign as a Captain, as India were notching up successive wins on a regular basis, Ganguly’s out-of-form with the bat was constantly criticised and ultimately he was thrown out of the team for more than a year. When Sachin had a rare poor form of late and was dropped by Ganguly for a Single ODI, it was rather unusual to see critics and fans going against Ganguly in a ridiculous manner. Its one thing to be a passionate fan and a completely different thing to be a biased one.
Low turnouts, empty stands and poor sales have been a recent issue in test Cricket, Now that Sachin has retired, I doubt whether even Sunil Gavaskar will turn up to the stadium. Sachin loves the games more than himself, but ironically, people love him more than the game. I doubt whether any player will enjoy so much success in Cricket or so much devotion from the fans as the little master. And I doubt whether anyone still remembers Dada dancing down the wicket to launch the ball into the crowd or Dravid’s Spirit to play his heart out for the team.
I neither question Sachin’s passion and determination towards the game nor the fans’ love for him. However, the narrow-mindedness of the fans is disappointing. Sachin will be dearly missed by every Cricket follower, irrespective of whether he is Sachin’s fan or not. As the whole of India pays its tributes to the end of an extraordinary career, it has forgotten to show its gratitude to some of its other role-models.
This is not coming from a Dravid or a Ganguly fan, but from a Sachin fan.