‘Now only humans will play cricket.’
‘Cricket is Religion, Sachin is God.’
‘Sachin is God’s gift to cricket.’
There are hundreds more such messages which you must have heard or read.This post may seem clichéd right now but I am going to write it anyway. I am sure you have guessed what it is about from the title itself! But seriously words are not enough to express the phenomenon that is Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar.
He retired today from all formats of the game and its going to be tough to imagine him not playing anymore.Cricket has been his life, a fact that he has acknowledged himself thousands of times. He had said that cricket is like oxygen for him. This one sentence sums up the depth of his passion for the game. His wife said today ‘I can imagine cricket without Sachin but not Sachin without cricket.’ He has worked all his life for this passion and its paid off handsomely for him.
I was lucky enough, thanks to a friend, to have been able to go and watch his last innings at the Wankhede yesterday. The atmosphere was electric. He was batting on 38 when the match started and we saw him hit another amazing 36 runs before he fell to a ball from Deonarine. While he was playing the din in the stadium was overwhelming. People were screaming their heads off with chants of ‘Sachiiinnn…Sachin’. The noise levels were wayyy too high. Yesterday I saw ( and heard) what a simple,empty plastic bottle could do. It seemed like the entire stadium had one of these in hand and was going ‘Sachiiinnn…Sachin’ dhan-dhan-dhan (with the bottle). Amazing the amount of noise a plastic bottle can make!
There was,obviously, a bit of a lull when he got out but the chants did not stop the whole day even if he wasn’t on the ground at all. By the end of the day everyone knew that it was going to be another 3-day test match and Sachin wasn’t going to come to bat again. So everyone started with chants of ‘Sachin ko ball do’!! From 9:30 to 4:45 the energy of the spectators had not diminished one bit…I was so totally amazed!! All for this man everyone calls the Little Master, one last hurrah for his astonishing career.
His speech at the end of the match was emotional and exactly like something we would expect him to say. He thanked absolutely everyone. 24 years is a long time for any sportsperson to play and especially play like he has. A hundred hundreds, 200 test matches,more than 15000 runs and 46 wickets too!!! Anyone might say they are just numbers but I know about a billion people who would completely disagree. His 74 in his last match was proof of how great a batsman he is. The amount of pressure he must have experienced, anyone could have crumbled. Except him. He has been an inspiration to crores of people, more than half of the cricketers playing today in India are playing because of him. I am so proud to be from the same country as he is, from the same city and from the generation who has seen him play.
He is someone who is never going to be forgotten because, as they say, ‘Legends never retire.’ There have been and will be many more cricketers but there can only be one SRT. There will be many more posts and articles like this one and probably better too, but this is just my way of saying ‘Thankyou’ to one of Indian cricket’s most iconic players. Like Ron would have said it,’He’s bloody brilliant!’