1996 World cup is one such tournament when I had developed a great bond with this small 5’5” man, fondly called Little Master. In that tournament, We lost many matches just because he didn’t encourage fellow batsmen enough to support him on field. I remember the day India lost a league match to Srilanka when Sachin hit a memorable century. As usual after he got out I haven’t watched rest of the match, turned on TV in the evening only to witness Lankans needed 5 runs in 2 overs. Post match at presentations, My father translated English to me that Azhar was telling they could have well backed Sachin. Thanks to Azhar at least he realized it but sorry he couldn’t find a solution resulting in same Sachin handled the burden for many years.
I still carry those moments not because I bunked the school in number of occasions to watch the game but the expression of Sachin at presentations that he could have got a bit more support from team. It’s priceless. Imagine you are in a team and not a team yet, thats the life of Master in late Nineties. Many embarrassing situations we had to face like semifinal match with Srilanka, Match with Zimbabwe in 1999 world cup, Match with South Africa in 2001 where he hit a 90+ and even tried to save doing the job of a bowler, test match with Pakistan and we lost by 12 runs just because his century was not complemented, match with Australia at the age of 37 when he scored 175 and left the ground giving a victory almost to cherish.. It’s never ending saga.
Wake up any Indian cricket fan in deep sleep and enquire on India vs Zimbabwe match in 1999 World cup. One of the pathetic matches Indian cricket team had ever played. Many of us were disheartened and given the fact that Sachin had to leave England to pay last respects to his father. It’s never an exaggeration if I say that India lost the match just because he was not there. This argument was strengthened when he went back to England the very third day after he lost his father and hit an astounding knock of 140 against Kenya. Never really thought about how his emotions were, how he maintained that temperament throughout the day, rather I just enjoyed every boundary and every run. A sigh of relief that Sachin is back to team and India can win world cup, it didn’t happen though.
Sachin had tried his best to take all the stress in very tough situations but not his devotees, perhaps thats the quality of GOD. Forgive me if I am talking more about defeats, Only when we lost I realized importance of Sachin. In countless occasions I blamed him that he got out early and hence India lost. Our life was very easy and soothing, he just asked us to sit back relaxed at home eating home made moms food watching him ruling the 65 yard field in mid Indian summer facing opponents like McGrath, Ambrose, Vaas, Muralitharan, Pollock, Walsh, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Gough to name a few. Each and every one of them got their share of memories from Sachin just like us. I am sure left with memories that I can share with my kids, but can I get those moments again in my life? Do I get that pleasure of watching a player like him again in my lifetime, waiting for him, dreaming for another century, thinking what to do rest of the day if he was out early?
When I was 10-12 years old, and we used to have power cut almost every day. Day night matches between India Srilanka New zealand. I remember calling my grandfather in office every 5 minute to check what’s the score of Sachin. Perhaps its much more important to me than score of India. Actually it is. Its no lesser but on the day of world cup final 2003, I couldn’t skip my school as it was my final exams day. My mother told me that she will be praying for Sachin to play a big innings again like how he did against Pakistan. Couple of hours later I went home only to know Sachin got out early and her prayers were not enough. This man has heavy connection to families, have his touch to emotions. I could see number of old people went to Wankhede to witness his last minutes on cricket field. This man is bigger than nation.
When he thanked each and every person who helped him in his growth, am sure millions might have connected and proud to be part of his success. I am no different. As a poet said It is indeed ironic that the nation which boasts the maximum religions in the world still believes in one God and that is none other than Sachin Tendulkar.
Can I get my time back? Can Indian cricket be same again? Can the world cricket be same? Can somewhere even dare to wear jersey 10? Can someone do the justice of batting at number 4 for India? I am not getting answers to these questions and will never. Every word is out of heart. I take a lot of inspiration from this person throughout my life. How he respected Parents, teachers, friends, well-wishers and most importantly his Wife. It’s a take out moment that he mentioned her contribution in his success. Once again proved and this time GOD himself acknowledge the role of women in Man’s success, With all due respect to women.
Finally, I will never correlate my golden life with Sachin in post Sachin life. ‘Cricke’ is never same. Sachin is not just another cricketer, he is a brand. Many things might have changed and will change too but not adulation for Sachin. We’ll remember you forever Master. Your personality might be little but not your impression on us. THANK YOU.. THANK YOU.. THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING!!!!!!