Once India had taken a commanding 313 run lead over the West Indies and had also claimed their three crucial wickets in the 2nd innings of the Wankhede Test, it looked certain that Sachin was not going to get a chance to play Test Cricket again. In view thereof, I thought it proper to scribble the following humble lines in his honour :
I am in a dilemma. How to begin? For, I am not qualified enough to write about a man, rather a phenomenon, who is so unique and incredible, who makes difficult tasks so simple. Who has no aura, no airs. He is unassuming to the core. Will perhaps never make you bore. With his antics, smile, camaraderie or performance. He does not hurt. Has rarely entered into or created controversies during the momentous 24 years he played for the nation.
He had his ups and downs, climaxes and low points, wins and setbacks, a few embarrassing moments, yet, he could carry himself with grace and dignity. His extempore speech at Mumbai on the day of naming of a sports complex after him will be permanently etched in one's memory. He spoke from heart, to say the least.
15th November,2013,a cool Friday will be the most memorable day for the living legend. On this day ,24 springs back he donned the country's colours in Pakistan, as a tense 16 year old teenager when the test cricket, per se, was decisively dominated by the middle aged men. The Australian and Pakistani fiery speedsters were knocking out every conceivable and emerging talents. AND money power too was yet to show its attraction & tentacles. But Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar was not only determined to make a statement but he was also there to stay for long.
He did not score a ton on debut but with his grit, hard work and overall balanced conduct, both on and off the field, he gave enough hints for a long, consistent and sustained performance in two forms of cricket. The latest one, i.e.20-20, turned out to be too much in view of his advancing age and emergence of many fitter and younger brethren, at least in non-IPL tournaments.
Over ten days, the whole of country led by ever resilient and joyous Kolkata and now Mumbai is singing praises (including Chalisas), discussing, confabulating, displaying and reminiscensing about the Master Blaster and rightly so. One can learn a great deal and draw inspiration from the career of this genius, for name and fame never really got into his head. He was never perturbed or shaken by the debacles in Australia, a decade ago or in England in not too distant a past or for that matter, the biting tongue of a handful of Australian Cricketers.
His 46 Test wickets,68 half centuries,100 centuries(51+49)15,921Test runs,18,426 one day runs are by any standards no mean achievements. It may be futile to say that such a record may not be equalled or broken. For that will go against the very spirit of the game, of any competition. Once upon a time, Sunil Gavaskar from the same crammed up Mumbai was on top of the world (without helmet) for more than a decade. Thereafter, another little Master-Tendulkar sprung up to make his mark.
While paying rich tributes to him, one should not, however, forget that he had become a spent force, if not a liability, on many occasions in the recent past, yet his past accomplishments and selfless service to the nation carried him forward. He was, in the ultimate analysis, rightly given chance after chance till his own conscience convincingly conveyed- "I hereby hang my gloves for the sake of other deserving lots".
Sachin rightly deserves to be remembered and followed like an IDOL or role model in every field of human endeavour. Let us not belittle him by discussing whether he should be conferred with the Bharat Ratna or whether he is greater than the game itself.
Dissemination of his vast knowledge and technique through setting up a politics-free Academy for the budding talents would be a more appropriate and sound proposition. The game of Cricket will continue to be played with more gutso and enthusiasm but in the words of the 'Nightingale' Lata Mangeshkar, "a pinch will be noticeable in days to come".