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Monday, 24 December 2012

Sachin Tendulkar: An Ode to the Master

Shakes Sports

Sachin Tendulkar: The Man, The Player, The Master


"I have decided to retire from the One Day format of the game, I feel blessed to have fulfilled the dream of being part of a World Cup winning Indian Team. The preparatory process to defend the World Cup in 2015 should begin early and in right earnest. I would like to wish the team all the very best for the future. I am eternally grateful to all my well wishers for their unconditional support and love over the years."-Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar

He came like the wind and went back flowing the same way. This was the simple statement (above quote) he made when announcing his retirement from the game and format that will remain synonymous with him for the rest of his life and the life of the game. Let never anyone say again that he ever played for the personal scores, the records, the money. It's a testament to his humble nature and humility that Sachin ended his retirement on a low note without the pomp and circumstance of a last match hurray He lays to rest the fluttering hearts of millions when he comes out to bat, the burden of billions when he is on the verge of a 100 and the criticism of trillions when he gets out.

Sachin Tendulkar raising his bat-after another century-in acknowledgment of his fans support 

The Master, the Champion, the God. Those are the words a generation of fans have given to him, but he will always be to me; Sachin Tendulkar. I started watching cricket with the 2007 World Cup, a horrendous time for Indian Fans. India were knocked out in disturbing fashion, fans rallied front and center for the retirement of the old guard. But one man still stood his ground; Sachin Tendulkar, he knew, he knew he had to be the senior player to etch his experience into the minds of youngsters coming in. He had to provide a path in which they could walk (not follow, I mean who would dare try?) and create their own legends and legacies to leave behind. The four years of intense watching on my behalf paid off.,-Sachin-Tendulkar-and-Sudhir-Gautam-ICC-World-Cup-2011-61266.jpg

Sachin Tendulkar on the shoulder of his team mates after having won the World Cup, he waves the Indian flag with pride

India won the 2011 World Cup. I called it right then, Sachin Tendulkar should retire. He had reached the pinnacle of his career and I the peak of my fandom. There was nothing left for me, my journey was to simply witness the resurrection of a team from loss to greatness. But Sachin did not retire, he held his ground, I didn't understand why until now. 

Sachin Tendulkar cherishing the moment of having won a World Cup in his Illustrious career. "I have decided to retire from the One Day format of the game, I feel blessed to have fulfilled the dream of being part of a World Cup winning Indian Team..."

The truest champions never go off into the sunset having been the Kings of the Mountain. They go off with a whimper, why you ask? They are team players before they are individuals. Sachin knew that maybe with the World Cup the team would need the motivation to go on, they would need someone to help them bask under the glory or eventually take blame under the failure.  For what has been one of the poorest years in Indian cricket, he has been the frontrunner of the critics wrath and the fans despair.

He has shouldered blame for his poor performances. Some of this is no doubt true, he seems to have lost his way and it shows in his batting methods. Maybe age has finally caught up, maybe the passion has gone but that is expected. After all no matter what names we give him, Sachin Tendulkar will essentially be human.

Yes Human, a supposed god who will always be a human but was, is and will be the greatest legend in one of the oldest and greatest sports; cricket. You may notice my post going round and round, It's no excuse but writing this article is both complicated and tearful for me. The emotion and numbness I feel as I read and write the words SACHIN TENDULKAR and RETIRED in the same sentence is unprecedented. 

It has been a day since the subtle announcement and I am still confused on what to write. Should I speak of his tons of records; like his 463 ODI's, his 18,426 runs or how he was just one number close to his 50th century (100 runs). Should I speak of the debut duck (0 runs) against Pakistan or his match winning fifty against the aforementioned team in what will now be known as his final match. Should I speak of his humble beginnings (which I have no inkling off), or the first time he scored the first ever double century (which I witnessed) or the way in which fans express his end of the career.

A younger Tendulkar with his typical charming smile and laughter

I decide to simply look at the glass as half full. I decide to place my cause behind the Indian selection committee to allow a passage for youngsters to take a spot within the team, I decide to put my hopes in a new player who will bring his best but will never try to fill the empty shoes left behind and I decide like I have done many times since 2007, to put my faith in a man who will use his experience now to help aid Indian Cricket and even India itself. 

The centuries, the trophies, the records, the names, the honors do not hold a candle to describe the man that Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar was, is and will be for his god given life. We will always miss you and you will always remain in our heart and soul. Thank You.

'Nuff Said

Aneesh Raikundalia              

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