As a youngster, his name was Jesus to my ears. I celebrated his hundreds with madness, yelled at his dismissals and cried when his tons weren’t enough to canter home. I still remember my mom commenting with a disappointing tone – “your love for him supersedes that ought to be reserved for me”.
“He is made, only to come on earth, bat and go back”. – Ravi Shastri
Fast bowlers bullied him as a 16 year old stepped out to feel the heat of the 21 yard strip, spinners ridiculed him, terming him as ‘too young to play international cricket’. He was picked in the side to fill up the ubiquitous 6th slot and his first ODI ton took 5 years to come since his debut in 1989.
“I have never seen God, saw one today”. – Matthew Hayden
He weathered storms and bowling attacks with élan. 23 years of turmoil, pain, achievements, criticism and spectacular performances. Yet, time never galvanised upon the memoirs of his glorious feats.
Yes. Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar will live as God, forever.
He leaves behind, if I may call it, a colossus of perpetuating paranoid that can seldom and probably, never surface in our lifetime. Runs in every corner of cricket bees, plethora of hundreds (not talking about the fifties though!) and the endurance to last for 463 ODIs. His 6 World Cups notwithstanding, he was poignant enough to make 2 of the editions his own (1996 and 2003) with a phenomenal streak that fittingly ended as the unit crumbled in the face of adversity.
“This kid is special”. – Abdul Qadir
“Watched him playing in the nets, couple of cover drives and knew that he would go far”. – Dilip Vengsarkar
I won’t talk more numbers as it’s been written, splashed and spoken over at every moolah. I would rather rave upon his shortcomings. Difficult to comprehend but I found out that he is human, by all means. His failure to lead India as a skipper has been a thorn in his flesh and admittedly, he hasn’t delivered the goods. And, to a large extent, we were looking for a bull inside a cow. Some are just great players and perhaps not meant to be influential leaders. Sachin belonged to that spectrum of vanity. Invincible and surprisingly, perishable.
“The greatest I have ever bowled to”. – Allan Donald
“He bats quite like me and the stance looks very similar”. – Sir Donald Bradman
He has often been accused of playing for himself and not for the country. Well, perceiving facts your way doesn’t alter the church of thought. We need to remember that Sachin’s career spanned in an era when Indian cricket team evolved, fell, evolved again to battle over supremacy. Yet, we were never a great cricketing nation, consistently. Our concerns were genuine, some attributed to culture and numerous towards congestion in ability of percussion elements. Not to mention, the media and the amount of scrutiny that summoned his exploits, on and off the field. To me, it wasn’t jade. We cannot punish a genius for the mediocrity around him.
Talk of the myths surrounding his aura, and I get a tad ferocious to lament the ignorance of those who failed to watch the broader blade of his life.
“The greatest batsman I have ever seen, even better than Bradman”. – Hanif Mohammad
Few that will be him, always.