Today, the Indian sports icon Sachin Tendulkar retires from International cricket. It makes me sad, just like every Indian and many other cricket lovers around the world. Though his retirement was inevitable, I am sure everyone will be missing the cricket legend as we know that Sachin will not bat for India anymore as he has been doing till today.
I was a boy when I happened to notice the name Sachin frequently appearing in the sports columns of newspapers during the 90s. Being a person with no affinities towards sports, initially I failed to recognize the charm that every Indian perceives behind the name Sachin. Cricket was just a meaningless act for me, but it was Sachin who diverted my attention towards the game, towards the excitement and unpredictability hid behind each ball that was thrown to the batsman at crease by a bowler at the other end.
I had noticed my pulse was beating terrifically while watching a game. I counted and found it was nearing hundred. The occasion was when Sachin and Australian fast bowler Glen McGrath came face to face for the second time. When they encountered for the first time, it was McGrath who claimed the victory. He dismissed Sachin when he was yet to take his first run in the match. So, the second time, they met, expectations and curiosity were at high rise. But as a person, who disliked the dominance of any bowler on him, Sachin punished McGrath in the first ball itself for a gigantic sixer. Though he could take only 21 runs or something in that match, the vigor Sachin displayed was enough to overcome the dominance of McGrath.
I know we might not be seeing him playing again in the international games. No chance to see the shots that dispelled to the boundaries through his marvelous ground shots. I loved the way he hit fours rather than his sixes. Those terrific shots were magical. I was lucky to see him getting the first ever double century in one day matches. Back then I was a journalist, was watching the game in TV live in order to update the live scores in the web news portal for which I was working. Don’t remember how many times I cursed MS Dhoni(a great player, of course) for not giving him the strike to complete the double century, when India was at the winning side. But, the caption I prepared was ready in the heading section, and I needed just a single click to publish it.
Now, I don’t watch cricket much. Being not an ardent admirer of cricket, watching the game on TV never had given me pleasure even in the winning matches. But I remember, whenever I enter a place where TV was switched on with live cricket streaming, be it a coffee shop, a bar, my home, or a friend’s home, I used to ask, Has Sachin bat, how much he scored? I know everyone would have asked the same question on many instances. After this, we will not be asking this question. But I doubt without remembering Sachin, or making a brief mention about him, whether I would be able to pass any game after this.
Attached below is a collage I made using my pictures and Sachin's. I know it is a stupid comparison, but still..
Thank You Sachin for enriching my boyhood days and youth with your mesmerizing shots, sportsmanship and personal charisma displayed when you were at the crease. Thank You for being the emotion of millions of Indians.