ESPN school quiz, year 2037, a 70 year old Harsha Bhogle shouts in an excited voice, “First of all is the easy question: "Which is the only father and son pair to play a test match together?” The answer “Sachin and Arjun Tendulkar” is instantaneous. Sachin Tendulkar the phenomenon will never retire from Test cricket and people will never stop loving him. This scenario was discussed in our Saturday afternoon ‘after lunch and don’t know what to do’ situation. Usually we talk crap and this is an example of it. But this is different, when you talk about Sachin, emotions run high. People are obsessed with him.
It is worth pondering.
It’s high time we realize that Sachin will never retire from Test Cricket and his fan following no longer depends on his cricket performances. Till his last breath he will do commercials, he will be playing test cricket and occasionally ODI too. GK, my roommate; adds: Sachin will never retire, in fact after he crosses 70 years every test venue will have an ambulance and medical squad waiting. Sachin would play till the year 2073 and die on the cricket field just 4 days short of 100 years. Does this ring a bell?
“Sachin dedicates the 16 runs he scored today to the memory of Azhar”, screams a 2055 headline in TOI. Lot more dedications follow: 12 for Ganguly, 5 for Dravid and likewise; but Sachin goes on batting. The only guy to outlive Sachin will be Gavaskar who at 113 could still be heard complaining about Australians sledging. By now, BCCI would be “The governing body” of world cricket and it would pass a resolution that anyone heard criticizing Sachin would be prosecuted and hanged in public. People will laud it and Boycott is hanged the next day. IBN does a special on cricket where people all over
Sachin finally ends up being the 11th avatar of Vishnu. We will make him immortal and start worshiping him. He will become part of folklore, and in due course of time, all the innings in which he failed would be eliminated from records and after Vishnu, Sachin will the second person to have a 'Sahasranama'.
I love Sachin. He has provided me with great joy and made me love the game of cricket even more (if that’s possible). There were days when I used to stop watching the match if Sachin got out. The Natwest Trophy finals, which is remembered as the Yuvraj and Kaif show, is one such instance. I loved to see him on commercials and I did want to drink 'Boost' because Sachin asked us to. I have never seen Bradman bat live and the video footage I have seen aren’t impressive. So to me, Sachin is the best Batsman the world has seen. But, how much ever you like someone, things come to an end. I think the time has come for us to let Sachin retire. All I say is that, the obsession is justified; but common sense should prevail. Sachin should retire gracefully and not become another Kapil who took 3 years to go from wicket 400 to 432). If 15000 test runs is his aim, then so be it; however we will remember him not for the 15000 runs but the way he hit them.