Written By: Debayan Bhattacharyya
It was Sunday afternoon, I clearly remember, I just finished my lunch and took my seat to watch you play. I was literally gutted as I was not there in Mumbai to watch you play for the last time ever. As a fan I felt, I have let you down. It wrenched by heart when you were delivering speech and bid goodbye to the game. But to me, I can still see you hitting those classy drives through the covers, smashing those best bowlers all around the park, something which will always be etched in my memory.
The day you, Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar retired, and with your career, an era came to a close. Countless people have grown into adults. Our childhood has come to its conclusion. Cricket for us has officially ended.
The day before you retired people were talking about 15th November 1989, where you played your very first match in a hostile territory across the border. But to me, a daunting feeling overshadowed my mood. I was thinking about 16th November 2013 and days after that where we’ll never get to see you, ever in the Indian starting XI.
Not only the city of Mumbai, the whole of India were gearing up to celebrate your illustrious career. But I was not in a mood for celebration. The end was nearing and it was like a nightmare, just like the coveted bowlers who feared to face you.
I miss those days when sitting on the edge of our seats, fingers crossed, when moving a muscle was indeed a crime. When you got out, the twitching of the muscle or changing our seats was to be blamed. That’s how you made us go crazy for you.
Your greatness cannot be matched by what you have achieved on and off the field, your greatness is the deep mark you have left on us.
Whenever I hear the “Sachin Sachin” chants I can only think of a great person who inspired billions all around the world. That’s your legacy, your name, your chant, still reverberating my ear giving me goosebumps.
Cricket is not only a sport, it’s a religion and if there is someone whom we can look up to, to worship, it is you, Sir, you only. You were so long involved with the sport that I never thought that you’ll ever retire. But then I realised that people have to go, it can’t stay forever.
When you played in Sharjah in 1998, the Australians were forced to wipe the dust. Two brilliant innings, a flawless 143 that took us to the final and a brilliant 134 that won it for us. It was your birthday and u gave us fans a treat. Who else can forget that 75 balls 98 knock in 2003 world cup ? Only he can smash a speedster like Shoaib Akhter all around the park. That was way back but still you managed to score the first ever double hundred in ODI history against the mighty South Africans at the age when most of the players retire with the same flawless brilliance. So why on earth would I think that you would ever retire ?
You never grew old, you just got better.
I apologize if I was ever part of the audience that put so much pressure on you. Carrying a billion hopes couldn’t have been easy. But still went on without complaining.
Yet, you always came out of an injury or a bad spell, ready to score runs for us again and again. It’s difficult to be selfless when you’re the best the sport has ever seen.
But with you reaching down to touch that sacred, semi-cracked 22 yards strip one final time, I had a tear in my eye and so did you. It had finally hit you too that you will never play for India. It must have been hard for you, we all feel for you.
It’s been 3 years since you called it a day. That void of the no. 10 jersey can never be filled. Thank you for making us feel like kids every time you padded up, took a wicket, a catch or simply did that slight knee bent or a tug of the helmet while taking the stance, you gave us unforgettable moments to cherish.Thank you for the most memorable 24 years of brillance.
A mere fan of you.