It may sound absurd to say that God has called it a day. However, the fact is that Indian Cricket’s most revered and adored iconic genius, Sachin Tendulkar has decided to call it quits from all forms of International cricket. His swan song scheduled to be held at the Wankhede, has expectedly generated interest of incomparable magnitude as his numerous admirers across the globe are more than eager to have a glimpse of the legend, take guard for one last time in his illustrious career.
Although, it was Kapil Dev and his men who triggered the transformation of the status of Indian cricket from being minnows to world beaters with an emphatic title win in the 1983 Prudential World Cup, it was left to Sachin Tendulkar to lead the charge and provide the icing on the cake as Indian cricket inched its way to supremacy in all formats of the game.
In a career spanning almost 24 years, Sachin has held his sway over all the bowlers in the game. Scoring runs came quite naturally to him due to his immaculate technique, impeccable timing, cool temperament, tremendous concentration and above all his controlled aggression which has left even the best of the bowlers to run out of ideas. He has, over the last two decades, hit every known exponent of the red cherry into submission, with disdain and cool contempt, with the ease of a panther that would run into the lambs. It has been a lesson in batsmanship to watch Sachin negotiate all deliveries with such amazing adaptability and ease.
He would be among the select few who could make the shin to chest transition from the docile pitches at home to bouncy and seam friendly surfaces abroad. Such has been the grace and finesse in his batting, that it even prompted the immortal Sir Don Bradman to reveal that, he saw glimpses of his own self while the Master Blaster was in full cry . Figures tell its own tales and Sachin’s feat speaks volumes for itself. He has had an incredible run of success with the bat, scoring 15837 runs and slamming 51 centuries in Test cricket and an even more enviable statistics of 18426 runs with 49 centuries in One-Day cricket.
Yes, not all of Sachin’s centuries have brought India to the door step of victory but each of them had its stamp of class, character, grit, determination and authority. It would not be easy to pick the best innings of his career as there are plenty to choose from and quite a few among them would vie for top honours.
His records in both versions of the game therefore appear to remain unmatched for years to come. Even though records after records fell by the wayside during the course of his astonishing career, it was only a matter of academic interest for him, as the interest of the game and his side always took precedence over his personal milestones and public adulations. It has been Sachin’s ability to turn the tide and reverse the fortunes of the game singly handedly that makes him the most exciting batsmen to behold.
Unlike many other sporting greats, Sachin has had an unblemished track record as he always stayed clear from any controversies either on or off the field. In an age of competitive cricket, comparisons are likely to be drawn and, let aside his batting records, for sheer class and consistency, Sachin shall stand head and shoulder high above the rest. It’s indeed hard to imagine a sportsperson, certainly any other cricketer in the annals of the game who has struck such an emotional chord among his legion of fans.
Some evoke reverence, some inspire awe, some draw affection. Sachin has received accolades, adoration and worship in equal measure. Therefore, as the curtain runs down on a career that has been an integral part of the resurgence of Indian cricket, a glorious chapter in the history of the game would come to an end.
(The writer is an avid sports and cricket lover. A former Western India boxing champion, was earlier actively involved with Late. Vijay Merchant and his social work projects).