Sachin!

One hundred lesser would not have made Sachin Tendulkar a lesser legend in anybody’s eyes. Like the last four runs that Sir Don Bradman did not score did not make him any lesser a batsman. Or the last successive Wimbledon title that Federer failed to win in a row did not make him a lesser tennis player in the history of the game.

But it did make the heart cry, and so would it have been, I must admit, if Sachin would have retired without scoring his hundredth international hundred.

Now that he is retiring, it still makes the heart cry, but he is probably as close to perfection that anybody could get. The last couple of years saw him adding, albeit at a slower pace, a 100 hundreds, a ODI double hundred, the World Cup, even IPL and CLT20, and now 200 test matches to an already stupendous career.

sachinSo I guess the only thing we can find fault with now is his retirement. The mind craves perfection from our idols, and no one has carried the burden of expectation more than Sachin as he walked out to bat over the past 24 years.

A lot has been said about Sachin’s records (and will perhaps be said over the next many weeks); his multiple hundreds, how they shaped India’s cricketing destiny, inspired a generation of cricketers and fans, and so much more. So saying any more on his record and achievements is like going to a school and repeating the school prayer that all students wake up to every morning and know by heart anyway.

So suffice it to say that in a world where most people are ordinary, and even high achievement is often suspect, Sachin has not only achieved unbridled greatness with his stupendous achievements on the field and his inspiring dignity off it, but, more amazingly, done it when the whole world expected only greatness from him and no less, and was constantly watching him in expectation – almost right from the first time he came in the international arena or even earlier. That must take something.

There are very few phenomena in the history of sport that stay alive through generations.

There used to be a generation of football fans who boasted that they saw Pele play soccer live in action, and tell other soccer fans what they have missed in their life.

There used to be a generation of boxing fans who thrived on telling everyone that they saw Muhammad Ali, the greatest, play boxing live in action.

Many years from now, I and people of my generation would, perhaps, look back and tell young cricket fans of that time that I belong to the generation of cricket fans who saw Sachin Tendulkar play cricket.

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One Response to Sachin!

  1. Anonymous says:

    Quote from BBC sums it all ”Beneath the helmet, under that unruly curly hair, inside the cranium, there is something we don’t know, something beyond scientific measure. Something that allows him to soar, to roam a territory of sport that, forget us, even those who are gifted enough to play alongside him cannot even fathom. When he goes out to bat, people switch on their television sets and switch off their lives’

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