It should never have come to this. The person who’s most amazed and appalled at this piece is its author itself. Those who know me know what Sachin Tendulkar means to me. For me to even conceive a shred of negativity about him would be nothing short of a cardinal sin. Yet here I am, commenting on His ‘future’. No, I haven’t hopped on to the bandwagon of people who demand his retirement when the only time they get hard is while watching IPL. But even I feel it is indeed time The Great Man rethought his sanctimonious position in world cricket.
Perhaps His situation is not much different from that of my only other sporting ideal, Pete Sampras. I still experience gooseflesh while recalling my dad’s moist eyes at having witnessed Sampras’ 4th round loss to Federer at Wimbledon 2001. But that is not my saddest memory of Sampras. It is watching the resigned look of inevitability coming true on my dad’s face after watching Sampras lose to the lesser known George Bastl on the erstwhile Court 2, famously known as the ‘Graveyard of Champions’.
I don’t want that to happen to Sachin. To this day, every single delivery that has claimed His wicket has pierced my heart, but at the same time, it has also instilled in me greater belief that there will be no such deliveries in future. However, the thought of that very belief fledgling sends shivers down my spine. I don’t even care about the detractors crying out from rooftops that He is finished. They just reinforce the notion that the average sports lover is indeed a capricious philistine, incapable and unworthy of any intellectual remarks. All I care about is my own belief in Him, which still goes strong. But the question is- for how long? I might not be the eternal optimist but I remember watching Sampras triumphing at the Flushing Meadows in 2002 at 5:30AM IST. Surely, I had not lost all my faith. Surely, sporting greats always have that last lap of glory left in them. To quote the late Peter Roebuck-“Sachin was born to bat.” To even think that such a man has been extinguished overnight would be a travesty.
Don’t you remember how your heart screamed with joy when He so much as walked on to the cricket field wielding the heaviest bat in the world like His light saber? Haven’t you prayed for two wickets to fall so that you could behold a demure Man walking to the pitch sporting the Tricolour on his forehead? Hasn’t your heart skipped a million beats everytime He’s been on strike? Or a billion beats when that most wretched creature of devil raised the dreaded cry of “howzzzzat” against Sachin? Well, mine has. And in case yours hasn’t, you’ve just had one fewer reason to live than I have. I never thought I would conclude this way. I thought it would be a pseudo-obituary to a great career. But I feel the blood rushing again, the smile widening along with the tension in my limbs. The same old feeling of pure contentment. Chuck retirement, I wish I die before that ever happens!


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