The heart of more than a billion people fluttered as Sachin Tendulkar walked into bat at the Wankhede Stadium. It was enthralling as every ball that he played was cheered and applauded. Everyone present in the stadium was there to pay tribute to Tendulkar (http://cricket.yahoo.com/photos/tendulkar-s-final-test-match-slideshow/) for the pleasure and enjoyment that he brought to each one, through his 24 years of international cricket.
The super hero once again played his part by getting runs through classic batsmanship. He played authentic and correct strokes, giving all of us a glimpse of what he stood for -- a vintage Tendulkar! To be able to carry the pressure and expectations of the entire nation and perform with such consistency and to do that on his final journey truly reflects and emphasises why he is undoubtedly India’s greatest sportsman.
The world of cricket will miss the aura and grace of the legend but the Indian middle order batting, I feel, is in the safe hands of Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli and the fabulous Rohit Sharma.
India has had star politicians, actors, corporate honchos and great artists, but the adulation, emotion and love that Tendulkar has received from every nook and corner of the nation was touching and wonderful. Here was a real life hero that every person watching at the stadium stood up for someone who will always be a champion in our hearts.
In contrast, it was pitiful to see former giants West Indies look like lambs for slaughter. The slide of their Test team is quite astonishing.
They seem to lack bowlers, mature batsmen and are now a pathetic fielding side.
Darren Sammy’s captaincy may be acceptable in the shorter format of the game but it lacked planning in Tests, and his field placing, at times, was deplorable.
The team seemed to be in India for a holiday as they lacked spunk.
Earlier, every island of the West Indies boasted terrifying fast bowlers. They seem to enjoy the shorter versions of the game as it requires less brain and more brawn. The Test series showcased West Indies as a struggling side that needs to completely revamp itself for it to become a team that the other top nations would feel worthy of playing against. They seem to lack the team spirit and the astonishing downfall in their fielding standards is totally puzzling, especially as they are born natural athletes.
While watching the Mumbai Test, Viv Richards, Clive Lloyd and Brian Lara must have been disappointed to see their team’s decline.
The one-day series that follows would surely be a closer contest as the West Indians’ natural build and ball sense does somehow give them more confidence and eagerness to perform in the 50-over format.
They need to forget the disastrous Test series and make a fresh start or else they will soon be bracketed with the minnows.
(The writer is former Test cricketer)
Reproduced from Mail Today. Copyright 2013. MTNPL. All rights reserved.
- An embarrassing defeat: Sammy
- Samuels, Shillingford reported for suspect actions
- India win series, lose Tendulkar
- Y! Cricket's full news coverage of Tendulkar's retirement
- It was the right time to retire, says Tendulkar
- Sachin Tendulkar's emotional goodbye speech