After a successful career spanning 24 years, Sachin Tendulkar retired today. I was 7 years old when he made his debut against Pakistan in Pakistan. I don’t remember much of him then, except the time when he famously hit 3 sixes in an Abdul Qadir over and effectively bringing an end to the spinner’s career. I also read that on this tour Sachin got a bloody nose by Waqar Younis, but instead of rushing back to the dressing room, he got himself treated on the ground and continued playing. It was simply awesome a 16 year old taking on the world, at the time when Indian team was known to meekly surrender when going got tough.
I grew up watching Sachin play all these years. In some ways, I wanted to bat like Sachin – emulate his batting style, his strokes. Cricket for me was watching Sachin bat. Sachin out – TV off was the common thing in many households. What attracted me towards his batting was just the way he loved to dominate the bowlers, he was raw, intense and was willing to give a fight – not take no for an answer. He was a one man army – as long as he was out there batting – there was always hope. Hope that India could somehow pull it off, turn the impossible into possible, snatch a victory from the jaws of defeat. He taught everyone to be hopeful, that one man can make a difference. People came to watch him because he gave them hope, gave them something to cheer about when things were not going their way. He showed them not to give up without a fight.
Sachin has turned out to be one of the finest batsmen of this generation, has achieved many accolades but at the same time has remained extremely grounded. You hear about so many sportsmen who take success to their head and become arrogant. But not Sachin. He still remains the same. There was a moment in the ongoing series – not sure if people noticed. MS Dhoni was having a word with the bowler, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, I believe at the end of one of the sessions. Sachin was walking a little ahead of them. He could have easily offered his opinion on whatever MSD was saying, but he did not. That’s the best quality about him. He does not have any airs about him. Have read about how he ensures that all new comers in the team are comfortable approaching him and if he sees that they are hesitant, he approaches them himself to make sure they are comfortable.
I know whatever I write about him is very less. There is nothing about him which isn’t already written. The chants of “Sachin Sachin” are going to be missed forever. All I can say is Thank You Sachin for the memories.