I was sitting casually, intensely reading a book, when I got a text, ‘leave everything and confirm, is Sachin retiring?’ I dropped my book (I never drop a book I’m reading), dashed to my laptop and typed in ‘Sachin Tendulkar news’. In about 0.16 seconds flashed the headline:
‘Sachin Tendulkar to retire from all forms of cricket after 200th test’.
And my heart sank. I wanted to cry and shout and deny the fact. But all I could do was show my disbelief on the social networks, just like zillion other fans out there. And I feel I can’t even call myself a ‘fan’, ‘cause I know how crazy they can be and I just never got that lucky to be crazy.
I remember not liking cricket as a kid; I thought that the game was ‘too long’. Then, when I came to India in 2007, I watched the 1st T20 World Cup and India emerging victorious. And that is when I fell in love for the first time. Fell in love with the game everybody loved so dearly. I watched every cricket game, read about every cricketer and watched as many past matches as I could. I began to realise and understand why Sachin Tendulkar was titled ‘The god of cricket’, why Rahul Dravid was ‘The Wall’, why batsmen feared Anil Kumble, why Indians treated cricket like a religion. I soon became a crazy fan myself, and followed cricket as much as I could.
I vividly remember breaking down to tears when Sachin Tendulkar announced his retirement from the ODIs last year. People who deeply understood the game said that it was a right decision on his part. But I don’t understand the game like that. I am a stubborn, short-sighted fan when it comes to cricket. So even whenwe knew that this was coming soon, the news today about his retirement for good broke me down again. No, I did not cry today. I just regretted the many chances I had missed in the past to watch him play live. Like the Champions Trophy Finals. I reminisced every debate I have had with people in the past defending Sachin, fighting with my mother to watch his matches or interview on the TV, cutting out his pictures from newspapers and secretly making huge collages of his.
No, I won’t cry today. I will just sit all day and read every single piece on his acheivements, watch every glorious moment of his, and talk about him as much as I can. That is how I will honor the legend. That is all I can do to honor the legend. That, and feel proud to be a fan of the Cricket God. #SaluteTheLegend