My mother told me that God will always be there, but now, even he is retiring.
Was the first thought that came to my mind on reading about the cricketing maestro’s retirement. What an era it has been ! Of pure class, sheer brilliance and unparalleled humility ! A life who touched billions of hearts just by the blade of his bat, has decided to hang up his boots, marking an end to his remarkable and impeccable career.
Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar, the quintessential Mumbai lad, obsessed with cricket just like millions of his age, tailored a dream of performing on the national arena. And he made the strict and efficacious Ramakant Achrekar his mentor, for his game and his life. His intense tenacity, coupled with his mentor’s grueling training and a little influence in the cricketing circles, made his dream come true when he was just over 15 years of age. And there has been no looking back since.
The world witnessed an illustrious career comprising of behemoth runs scored with an excellent strike rate, with display of innumerable debonair strokes. What has made him even more affable is his continuous demonstration of humility and courteousness. Whether it is ODI or Test cricket, Sachin has delivered ubiquitously and with panache. But these are known to everyone. What is unique about Sachin is how we , as mere mortals, relate to him.
Sachin features among the ideals of any cricket lover. But it is not only because he is a brilliant batsman. There are many other great batsmen. But Sachin is a role model and people like to set those people as role models with whom they can relate to effortlessly.
- Unlike many of his renowned predecessors, Sachin made his way into the Indian Cricket Team despite not having a wealthy background.
- His consistency is less than Dravid, in tests.
- He has faltered often in nineties.
- He doesn’t handle pressure as good as Dravid or Dhoni.
Meaning people realize that he is not invincible. At one time of his career, he was easily being dismissed even by a shitty Rana Naved or something like that. But it is these frailties that make him more likeable, more human.
No doubt we admire Dravid for his consistency and suaveness, no doubt we admire Sir Bradman for his invincible average. But we do not just need inspiration. We need motivation too. And it is people like Sachin and Federer that provide it to us. Be it Sachin being dismissed by a silly full-toss ball over and over again or Federer being ousted from consecutive tournaments in the first round itself, the flaws in their performances teach us that our lives are also no different than them. Both have the same stories of crests and troughs. But what motivates us is the audacity with which they battle those odds, the fervour and exuberance that they display even in the grimmest of circumstances and how ultimately they rise to the occasion, with all guns blazing.
It is this humanness that makes them affable and so colloquially relatable, leading to a permanent bond.
A bond that creates an adrenaline rush when Sachin comes out to bat.
A bond that makes crowds go berseck when he hits his trademark straight drive.
A bond that sinks our hearts and switch off the T.V. when he falls.
A bond that makes us support him perennially, despite his curtailing consistency.
It is this bond that governs my emotions today and it is this bond that will be reminisced whenever I watch cricket again.
“Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar, you were a great habit.” – Harsha Bhogle.