Sachin Tendulkar retires from one-day internationals – the headline doing the rounds on social media sites and news portals hits harder than any characteristic square drive that the batting maestro hit in his seemingly never-ending career.
Cricket’s brightest star, alas, will never shine again in the most popular 50-over format of the game. Sachin Tendulkar always had his reservations about the 20:20 format of the game, and it will perhaps be a few more months before we see him in the IPL, taking that heavyweight willow of his to strike terror in the heart of the opposition.
The month of December 2012 has now seen two of cricket’s brightest stars announce their retirements – former Australian skipper Ricky Ponting, the second highest run scorer in Test history after Sachin Tendulkar, announced his retirement less than three weeks ago, and now the all-time great Sachin Tendulkar has called it a day in one-dayers.
Despite a statistics-studded career, Sachin Tendulkar’s future has been the subject of much speculation following what his critics and ton-hungry Indian fans have been calling a dismal form in all forms of the sport.
While the batting legend had, until a day earlier, vigorously refuted claims that he was going to retire, arguing that he’d do so when thought the time was right, it seems that pressure from the media and his fans finally took its toll on him, with Tendulkar announcing his retirement early this morning.
“I have decided to retire from the One Day format of the game,” Tendulkar said in a statement. “I feel blessed to have fulfilled the dream of being part of a World Cup wining Indian team,” he said.
Tendulkar apparently made the announcement after speaking to Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Narainswamy Srinivasan.
It is being speculated that the BCCI might have told him that he could not be considered for the 2015 World Cup squad – Tendulkar will be 42 in 2015 – and that might have led the star to step aside so that another player can get a chance in the team until then and become part of the Indian unit.
“The preparatory process to defend the World Cup in 2015 should begin early and in right earnest. I would like to wish the team all the very best for the future,” Sachin Tendulkar said while announcing his retirement.
“I am eternally grateful to all my well-wishers for their unconditional support and love over the years,” he said.
Even though, that unconditional support was waning in recently, with a huge number of cricket-crazy Indian fans baying for Sachin’s departure every time their ‘world champion’ team faltered in a game or Tendulkar was dismissed cheaply.
The media wasn’t far behind in gauging this sentiment, and fanned it further with many Indian news channels creating stock clippings of Sachin’s dismissals in nervous nineties or cheaply, and playing them in a looped clip over and over again.
Of course there were his die-hard fans and other cricketers who continued to support Sachin and said that his retirement shouldn’t be speculated upon and that he would go when he thinks her should go – at the end, however, it seems it was too much to ask from a cricket legend who perhaps felt that, every time he stepped on to the ground, he had to prove to a billion people that he was worthy of wearing the Indian national colours.
Of course, while millions of his fans will miss him ‘live’ on field in one-dayers, the announcement comes in the nick of time when India is set to battler arch-rivals Pakistan at home, and after a bitter thrashing by visitors England.
As this website has always said, Sachin Tendulkar will have as much if not more to give to the game from outside the ground than he’s given from on it.
Here’s raising a toast to Sachin’s second innings.