For India, cricket is religion – and Sachin Tendulkar for them was a God of cricket. And after 24 years, 664 international matches (tests, ODIs and T20), 34,000+ runs, a ton of tons, 200 odd wickets, a first ever ODI double century and a World Cup victory later the little master at the age of 40 has said now said good bye to the international world of cricket. For one last time he bowed out at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, the same place it all began for him.
My life, between 22 yards for 24 years, it is hard to believe that that wonderful journey has come to an end
A visibly emotional Tendulkar put it in the best way possible. His life between the 22 yards of the cricket pitch for the last 24 years. And they really have been wonderful for the game, the player, the team, the nation and world over fans of cricket. It has been honor for Tendulkar to have been able to serve and represent India for 24 years at the highest level – but it has been a greater honor for everyone else to have witnessed those 24 years (as a fan and team mate both). The farewell party, the adoration of the fans, the tributes paid, the emotions shown are all evident of this. The globe celebrated a glistering 24 year career of cricketing legend.
His final words were truly reflective of what Tendulkar has been throughout his career for the game. Genuine, sincere, humble and great. While there have definitely been greats of the game from a different time and era altogether and while some may say that comparisons made to Bradman are unwarranted – there is still no doubt in anyone’s mind nor there should be that Sachin Tendulkar truly stands out as a great and as a legend of the modern day cricket. Surely he will go down in cricketing folklore well beyond the borders of India. The stats alone are proof enough of that. As a relative of mine put it ‘We are very likely not going to witness another one like Tendulkar; someone who started as early as he did and then who played for as long as he did – breaking and setting records and winning millions of hearts along the way’.
There is absolutely no denying of the fact that it was an honor to have been able to witness ‘The Little Master’ in our time. A lot of the cricketing greats that we hear of today is history that we would always only be told about. Tendulkar’s is one that we have had the pleasure of watching first hand. For long stretches in his career he made batting look very easy. 34000+ runs certainly would have that factor.
Retirement is certainly a huge moment for anyone. For it is the ending of one part and the beginning of another in one’s life. But very few retire from a passion that they have pursued for periods like 24 years like Tendulkar. And a sportsman’s retirement is even more harder. Regardless of whether it is cricket, football or any other game – it is hard to imagine leaving that passion behind, leaving it’s big stage. Leaving the 22 yards in this case.
Yes there have been many moments while watching Sachin bat that I had wished for a duck or for him simply to get out but then that is only natural for Pakistani Cricket fan (And most of them were in Pakistan India matches or in tournaments where India’s result would affect Pakistan in some way). However it has still truly been a remarkable sight watching him bat, watching him on the field. He has entertained millions, he has won millions of hearts.
Cricket says farewell to one of its most favorite sons, but I reckon that we will see Tendulkar staying involved with the Indian team in one capacity or the other. Sporting legends may retire, but the sport in them never dies. The passion stays ignited within always.
So long Sachin, it has been a pleasure.