THE AGONY AND THE ECSTASY

Mumbai :  All these years the Wankhede Stadium groundsmen had been competent enough to protect the pitch from the excessive dew factor, but on Saturday morning, they looked completely helpless from protecting it from getting wet. After all, the great Sachin Tendulkar was in all tears!

THE AGONY AND THE ECSTASY

Exactly after 24 years and a day, Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar bid a tearful adieu to international career after playing 463 ODIs, 200 Test matches and a lone T20 scoring 34,357 international runs.

“My life between 22 yards for 24 years, it is hard to believe that the wonderful journey is coming to end. I would take this opportunity to thank all those people who have played an important role in my life,” an overwhelmed Tendulkar said at the presentation ceremony.

The legend, known for keeping his emotions under wraps, broke down as soon as the teammates presented a souvenir stump after Mohammed Shami bowled out No.11 Shane Shillingford of West Indies to bring down the curtains on Master Blaster’s cricketing innings.

Acknowledging the fans and shaking hands with the West Indian cricketers at the boundary line, Sachin walked back to the pavilion wiping tears. The crowd present at the stadium were up on their feet giving him a standing ovation, most of them consoling each other.

For the presentation ceremony, he was accompanied by his wife Anjali and children, Arjun and Sara.

With the customary presentations getting over and both the skippers having their say, it was time for Tendulkar to speak. In a speech which left many with moist eyes, Tendulkar thanked his family, coaches, teammates, friends and fans. During Tendulkar’s speech, even his wife Anjali could not control her emotions at one moment. Sara quickly went closer and embraced her mother. Once the legend had poured his heart out, it was time for Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Virat Kohli to hoist him on their shoulders and take him around the stadium. Tendulkar waving the tri-colour acknowledged his emotionally-overwhelmed fans.

But what followed at the end touched everyone’s heart even more. When just everything seemed to be over, Sachin suddenly ran towards the 22-yard strip and touched it with his hands as a mark of respect. And that very moment the emotional floodgates opened for the Master Blaster, he knew was he was touching the pitch he loved playing the most for the very last time. The legend had finally signed off.

Sumeet Naik

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