Sunday, December 23, 2012

A Legend Retires...

There comes a time in every professional sportsperson's life when he has to call it a day. Today, it is Sachin Tendulkar's turn, as he is separating himself from his favourite blue jersey.

Over the years, he has ruled the 50-over format like no one else, he has mastered the art of batting in this format of the game and that's why he earned the title of 'Master Blaster'. Though, this image of him faded a bit in the later part of his career, due to some big injuries and it forced him to compromise with his technique, to prolong his cricket career, and the way he has adjusted himself is really inspiring.

Growing up in the 90s, Sachin automatically became one of my favourite cricketers and I have some distant memories of Hero Cup and some memories of 1996 World Cup. But it was the Titan Cup when I started to follow cricket religiously and luckily India won it by beating South Africa. And guess what? It was Sachin's first series as Indian captain, so I started to admire him more.

My elder brother used to read a Hindi cricket magazine 'Cricket Samrat'. It was one of our prime sources to know about what's happening in the world of cricket. I remember, there was a story published in it about Sachin getting the MRF contract. Since, I didn't understand this contract business much, I went crazy to buy a bat with these three letters written on it. This is just a little example of how much impact he had on me and the kids of my generation.

There are many memories of him batting/celebrating in ODIs - those two back to back epic hundreds at Sharjah, that 241 game against Zimbabwe, those sixes off Caddick and Shoaib, those 673 runs in 2003 World Cup, that 175, that double hundred, those crucial 117 and 91 in CB series finals, that unbeaten 140 after his father's death and the way he looked up to dedicate it to him, and then finally that World Cup winning night - the emotions were flowing. If you want, you can write a book about Sachin's moments and still it won't be enough.

Doing it for a longtime is one thing but doing it consistently is another and when you consider the fact that he has done it for more than 20 years, you know he is a special person, a legend. I have no doubt in saying that he is the greatest cricketer ever to play ODI cricket.

Today, a part of my life is just a memory. Thank you Sachin.

Photo: ESPN-Cricinfo


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