He was asked when and where he’d like to retire. Not only that, he was given time to give out a final speech to all his followers as well. I remember myself sitting on my Porch with tears and mist for the next hour. My room-mates didn’t even dare see me like that. That is the effect the Magician had on me and I am sure on a million more as well. A few days down the line after the away disasters, Gavaskar suggests that Dravid should take up coaching of the Indian Cricket team. Suddenly there were nods around the country and the pseudo-intellectual crowd rose, “Why was Dravid never given his due respect and farewell?” Thus began the Sachin vs. Dravid debate- he was a Mumbaikar, he couldn’t captain, Dravid kept the wickets, always was dependable… then why wasn’t he more celebrated???
The simple answer- Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar was a rockstar bigger than anyone on the twenty-two yards and everyone loves a Rockstar!
Many believe him to be a very humble person sans ego, but I don’t define ego as just how Mohd. Ali portrayed it; ego can be subtle. Go see Sachin’s first video on YouTube, and you shall witness a shy curly haired boy say, “I like fast bowlers, the ball comes straight on to the bat”. This was a response to the question- “It is your first tour to West Indies, don’t you think you are too young to face the likes of Ambrose?” The man has a colossal ego which he later exhibited only with the bat. The fact was reiterated when Henry Olonga claimed to have ‘got his trick’; the next match ended with Sachin at an unbeaten century at a strike rate of 135 and HK Olonga on an economy of 8.33.
It is often believed that Sachin had more talent than his counterparts and was thus considered superior (as if it was his fault). I on the other hand, have always maintained that he had above average talent but had probably the most amounts of passion and perseverance any one could have for any game! I still remember him in an interview when he told how scared he was to be losing his career after the tennis elbow, he felt frustrated by the fact that ball boys could stop his shots!!! The media ridiculed him, fans started losing faith and my house used to be a war zone. He was oblivious on the crust, marched on and hit the nets. He came back and boy did he conquer, reminded me of the scene of Achilles vs. Hector. When he surpassed Lara he said, “When people throw stones at you, you turn them into milestones”. It is not easy to change your style in any game, Gambhir’s dab, Sehwag’s leg, Dravid’s tilted defence, Messi’s stamina or even Mourinho’s mouth… But Sachin, he worked hard, hours in the nets, till he got it right; the man hit a double century without hitting the trademark off drive for crying out loud!!!
We live in a world full of ironies. We worship our heroes but love to see the ones at top falter, kick the ones who are down and if they still prevail, we doubt their sustainability! He triumphed through all! We stand up and clap, maybe even have a few tears when players like Scholes or Dravid retire; but when a Rockstar becomes a legend sans the fall, you are left in a lull, a void that shall never be filled. Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar personified a concept, the idea of a perfect man! He is not your stable man nor is he the typical Rockstar, he is just the illusion we never thought would materialise!!!
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