It was 23rd of December, an ordinary day, Christmas was around the corner and I was fully engrossed in the preparations. Coincidently it was also my cousin’s birthday. A sports journalist by profession, he hardly ever gets a holiday, but since it was his birthday he had managed to get the day off. In his father’s words, “We were sitting and watching an old Tamil movie when suddenly the phone rang and in a matter of seconds he was out of the door. He said something about Sachin retiring”.
To be completely honest, I am not a big fan of cricket and I have never been able to understand the nearly fanatic craze associated with it. Time and again we have heard how cricket has taken over the complete sports scene in our country. How cricketers are given demigod status and are literally worshipped all over the nation and how the sport has stolen the limelight from our national sport- hockey. But, as Indians, all these things have hardly ever bothered us as cricket is our second religion. I have learned to keep my cricket related opinions largely to myself, but over the years, I have found a few who share my sentiments.
So, when I started receiving texts regarding Sachin’s untimely retirement from the ODI format of the game, it didn’t bother me that much. But, when I logged into my Facebook account that evening, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Every single status said something about Sachin’s retirement. It was almost like everyone knew him like a father or a brother. I didn’t know him personally but I felt a little hurt inside. I was almost tempted, to post something too, but I couldn’t think of anything appropriate.
It is not that I don’t know who Sachin Tendulkar is. His was the first name I’d take if I had to name a cricketer. I know he is a very good batsman and holds several records for the same and has made our nation proud on innumerable occasions. I had watched the 2011 World Cup final match along with millions of people around the globe and I was also ecstatic that we won. It was a tribute to Sachin, who was drawing towards the end of his cricketing career and I remember when the fireworks continued throughout the night.
For the cricket crazy country, Sachin’s retirement is a major setback, but even in that fraction of the population which doesn’t follow this religion so fanatically, there is a sense of loss. The few matches that I watched and the little something I knew about the game had a lot of Sachin in it. He was the face of cricket for me and his name was permanently linked to the game. All I can finally say is that even for a non-cricket-crazy person like me; cricket would not be the same without Sachin Tendulkar.