Lap of honour: MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli lift Sachin Tendulkar as he bids adieu to international cricket. (IANS …
When sporting superstars retire, it leaves fans sad and wishing for more. Be it football icon Pele, tennis ace Pete Sampras or Formula One king Michael Schumacher, the real fan keeps wishing his or her idols could have continued for some more time.
The harsh truth of sport is that each sporting star has a shelf life. In the case of Sachin Tendulkar, the 24 years he spent in the cricket arena have been a period of sheer joy.
Even as Kolkata and Mumbai bade tearful farewells to India’s larger-than-life cricket star, it had still not sunk in for many. It seems like yesterday when the man with a boyish smile was clinging on to the ICC World Cup in 2011 as the dream of a lifetime had come true.
Then again, the last two Tests of Tendulkar’s career have seen huge hype. Such kind of focus on one man in a team sport has never been seen before and nobody can grudge it or the Bharat Ratna the government has decided to confer on him.
From the common man on the street to cricket pundits, there has been intense speculation about what Tendulkar will do post retirement.
Everyone talks about Tendulkar’s presence on the cricket field for 24 years but they actually forget that it’s a few years more — his formative years and the period when he dominated Mumbai’s schools and junior cricket.
I have read about the vacuum which Tendulkar will face post retirement but that is ridiculous. Agreed, cricket has been Tendulkar’s life all these years, but there is a lot more to life than sport.
The average fan looks at Tendulkar selfishly, since he will no longer be around to enthrall and entertain. But not many really want to reflect on what all Tendulkar could be doing, which he has missed out on owing to his cricketing commitments.
Being in the international arena from age 16, he stayed away from so many things in life which the average teenager enjoys. Yes, he cannot relive those days but, as a family man, he has so much more to look forward to.
Global sporting icons pay a huge price for stardom, even post retirement.
The craze for Tendulkar will last a lifetime and I am sure even he knows that he cannot one day become just a fan and walk into the Wankhede Stadium hoping to enjoy a match. From the paying public to the media, he will be chased for autographs and bytes.
So how can Tendulkar lead a ‘normal’ life after retirement? Indeed, it will be very difficult as cricket is not just a sport he played for a living. Cricket is something which flows in his veins and which he breathes every second.
People have speculated on what could be the roles ahead for Tendulkar. There are reports which suggest he could be mentoring Mumbai Indians in the IPL, but that is a very limited role.
If people want to really see Tendulkar happy, they need to respect his privacy and let him choose what he wants to do with his life. As a cricket lover, my prayer to Tendulkar is that he shares his wealth of knowledge with the Indian cricket team in whatever capacity he deems fit.
The other day when Cheteshwar Pujara spoke of Tendulkar correcting his technique at the nets, resulting in a hundred in the Mumbai Test, it was clear how much the magician can give back to the sport.
I would not be foolish enough to suggest that Tendulkar be appointed coach or consultant. When we ask for knowledge from learned people, we don’t seek appointments. Each word they speak has meaning and needs to be imbibed.
If the Indian cricket board is looking for a cricketing brain which knows almost everything, it has to be Tendulkar.
The first suggestion to this effect has been made by none other than Shoaib Akhtar, so it really is now up to the BCCI on how it wishes to use Tendulkar’s expertise.
The 2015 World Cup is not far away and India has shown it is now relying on talented youngsters. Get Tendulkar on board to plan the roadmap and that does not necessarily have to be by way of offering him a formal contract.
Today, Tendulkar does not have to make it public that he will breathe cricket even after retirement.
Be it wielding the microphone or even lecture sessions for the team, people have to pick Tendulkar’s brain.
Come on BCCI, please take the lead.
Reproduced from Mail Today. Copyright 2013. MTNPL. All rights reserved.
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