One more brick in the wall, the wall painted by many awe and endless thanks and tons of blessing and many rounds of threaded expectations and a salute to the nation’s hero.
Yes, am talking about the great Sachin R. Tendulkar. The name says it all, the honour and privilege to choose his own day of retirement and that too at the place where he learnt to hold the bat and stayed there till sun went down and faded moon light roofed over the green grass and timed it as- go home and come back tomorrow.
Wankhede stadium, after witnessing the world cup triumph in 2011 and now having the responsibility to host the biggest farewell in Indian sports history, of a living legend Sachin Tendulkar.
What Sir Viv Richards has been in Caribbean, Sir Don Bradman has been in Australia, Sachin has been to the cricket around the world and to many Indians over the past two and a half decades.
A person inspiring many millions since 1989 and having such an impact that few of them (present players in national team) dared to reach their dream to play alongside him and they did, sharing the same dressing room and if lucky to play with him rotating the strike in the middle 22 yards mud bed.
There are endless praises and endless anecdotes related to this man, and mine is also one of them, similar to many-
please don’t move from your place, let the over finish, let him be off strike, don’t touch the remote, and last but not the least please don’t say this- he is playing really good. And come next ball he is heading back to pavilion. And television is turned off and at that very moment for many the match is over.
Growing up amid those years just freshens up the day when the news popped upof him calling it a day this November. The good old long and bulky heavy television sets replaced by flat plasma or LCD screens in many houses.
The excuses to witness the batting under his play, the silly yet important fights in particular with sister siblings, its Sachin batting and you want the remote; no way back off sis.
And my favourite memory like many, the show down in Sharjah in year 1997-98 the back to back tons against the likes of mighty Aussies under the light and that crackling commentary duo of Ravi Shastri and Geoffery Boycott, literally chanting the shots, the cover drives and the simple but hard to produce those straight drives where the ball travelled giving flying kisses to the stumps at the bowlers end.
Then comes the art play at the test level, coming at number 4 and partnering with either the wall; Rahul Dravid or with the classic stagnant shot maker; VVS Laxman and giving the bowlers a hard day at work.
We are having something to laugh about in the times when we will be called as geriatrics and telling stories to our off-to-off springs about the game threaded with Sachin R. Tendulkar.
My father used to say about the legendary batting of Viv Richards and the same we say about this man. Although things have changed places in last few years particularly since world cup victory, the MRF stickered piece of wood went silent and the jersey number 10 taken a rest in the sun to dry up the sweat it has soaked in past two decades but the roar still remain intact the same decibel level when he arrives at the crease and the air over the stadium fills with chants of name Sachin Tendulkar.
For many this will be an end of an era, a generations will album many moments, news rooms and press reporters will take a pause; who have the privilege to cover the news when this man is in the ground, the cricket will never remain the same, neither the sportsmanship.
That silent and shy character with the voice of a child and the emotion of clear inside on the face will never be seen or witnessed again.
Not to forget a special mention for Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman, along with the great little master. The trio has made the bowlers around the world to have a run for their money, be it the Aussies or the Proteas or the Khans from the neighbourhood or the bowlers from the Lanka or the pacy English attack at the Lords.
What this trio has faced in the name of bowling had been a tough job and always needed the guard to overcome the fear of getting out. The wall has been always supporting even when the doors of castle were opened to the invaders and the classical shot making of VVS has always a new chapter in the book.
The science of shot selection along with the always loaded luggage on shoulders having billions of expectations packed inside, wonder it was the weight of the willow or the burden of hopes; there is something that kept this man going.
For this moment I feel proud to be part of this generation, that has witnessed the game play from little master. It truly has been a pleasure to see this man batting, staying on the field and perhaps among the few greats that got the marriage right; marriage between individual records and teams success.
“Shane Warne had nightmares. Shoaib Akhthar wanted to steal his bat. Anil Kumble once said, “Glad we are on the same team so not to bowl him.” Brain Lara said, “He is cricket.” Every Indian skipper wanted this man in the dressing room. Rahul Dravid said, “He is the greatest batsman after Sir Bradman. And the whole nation says, aaiillaaa Sachin.”
We will miss you. You will be missed.