Sachin Tendulkar has left the building




Yet another year ended and provided us with so many memories. Some sweet, some bitter. Some happy, some sad. But each one of them worth cherishing. West Indies winning T20 World Cup, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) winning their 1st IPL title, poor run of IPL teams in CLT20, Michael Clarke’s astonishing form, England’s Test series win in India after 28 years, these are some of the memories 2012 left us with but it won’t be an exaggeration if we call 2012 the year of retirement of legends: Andrew Strauss – one who led England to Ashes, Kevin Peterson – who redefined stroke play, Tatenda Taibu – one of the best Zimbabwe has ever seen, Brett Lee – one who along with Shoaib Akhtar changed the mode of pace bowling, Mark Boucher – greatest wicket keeper ever, Ricky Ponting – best captain cricket has ever seen, Rahul Dravid – The wall, VVS Laxman -The lifesaver and Sachin Tendulkar – The God.

Sachin Tendulkar has left the building

Sachin Tendulkar has left the building

Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar announced his retirement from ODI cricket on 23rd December 2012, 23 years 5 days after he played his 1st ODI against Pakistan in which he was dismissed for a duck. On the same tour, in a 20 over exhibition game in Peshawar, Tendulkar made 53 runs off 18 balls, including an over in which he scored 27 runs off legendary leg-spinner Abdul Qadir and we knew that a legend was in the making. Before we go deep into the cricketing career of Sachin, let me tell you that this article is not about what Sachin did as a cricketer, about his achievements- we all know what he did and his stature in ODI cricket. This article is about the sentiments and emotions of millions of fans who watched him play, about critics who criticized him towards, the controversies people are linking with his retirement. This is not penned down by an expert, but written by a fan.  Here is the ODI career of the legend in a nutshell:

463 matches played, 18426 runs scored at an average of 44.83 with 49 centuries and 96 fifties including a 200* against SA; 154 wickets taken and 140 catches. Captained India in 74 matches, won 23, lost 43, Tied/No Result 8.

These statistics neither tells about the records that Sachin Tendulkar has broken nor I am going to talk about them. Here are some questions arose from this and my honest attempt at answering them.

Q: Why now?
A: People say that Sachin should have retired after 2011 World Cup win as he had achieved whatever was there to be achieved by him and 2015 World Cup always seemed impossible to him. 2011 World Cup was about India not about Sachin, if Sachin would have announced his retirement at that time the focus at India’s World Cup win would surely have been diluted and the spotlight would have shifted to Sachin which he of course rather no one wanted.

Q: Do the critics forced him to retire?
A: Two words, definitely not. The stature that Sachin has achieved in Indian cricket, it is evident that those who criticized him are always attention-seekers, I mean what else could have been the better option to seek attention in a cricket freak nation. Moreover, Sachin is not someone who gets distracted by what critics say about him, he is the one who lets his bat do the talking.

Q: Sachin plays for record?
A: If Sachin played for record, he could have waited to complete 50 ODI centuries or 100 fifties or even 20,000 runs because he was playing matches according to his wish, even selectors asked him if he wanted to play in a particular series or not. But, he did not. He called off the day when he felt like.

Q: Why ODI not Tests?
A: If Sachin is tired, then he should have quit test before ODIs as tests ask much from your body than ODIs. He said he will review himself after England series but that was also a test series. A righteous question. But, you see we have a pretty strong team in ODI even without Sachin and we need to prepare for 2015 World Cup, of which Sachin is not going to be a part. Whereas, in tests our team is struggling we still have not find the right replacement for Dravid and Laxman, if Sachin would have retired from test it would have been pretty hard to rebuild the team. Though Sachin is not in the best of his forms and will soon retire from tests but playing alongside him is definitely a great motivating factor for youngsters who are going to lead India in future.

Q: He should have played one more match as his farewell match?
A: Honestly speaking, even I cannot answer it. He should have provided us with a last chance to watch him bat wearing that Blue jersey number 10, he should have allowed us to cheer ‘Sachin, Sachin’ for one last time, he should have given the chance to opposition to salute him and provide him with a guard of honor. This is Sachin’s decision why he did so and let this question be unanswered because some questions are better left unanswered.

In the books of cricket history, the name of Sachin Tendulkar will be written in golden with no one parallel to him. In the test history, he will be a golden chapter but in ODIs, he is the history himself.

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