Grace, poise, a fabulous sense of timing, the occasional display of delightful impishness and above all, sheer class, have long been the hallmarks of Sachin Tendulkar, the batsman.
November 16, 2013 is considered the day when an era ended in world cricket. It was the day when an icon stepped away from the world stage. Sachin Tendulkar, India’s greatest cricket icon, walked onto the pitch at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai for the last time as an international cricketer on this day, six years ago .
After the fall of the 2nd wicket, the time stood still. The state of the game or the performance of the departed batsmen got no attention. The crowd of 25,000 came to see just one man, walking down the stairs to bat for the last time in his career on his home ground.
On that day, 2 wickets fell in an over but, no body was bothered. 25,000 people turned their heads towards the dressing room and all started chanting Sachin.. Sachin.
Then the Legend put on his pads, gloves, helmet and got up, the moment he stood up he became a public view and people lost their control. The West Indian Team had already formed a guard of honour for him.
74 runs off his last match and the career ends. We all knew Sachin wouldn’t come to bat for the 2nd time. The entire Wankhede crowd was in tears, the West Indian Captian, Darren Sammy who took the catch was in tears too.
India were on the verge of winning the match and the myth that Tendulkar never finishes left no doubt.. All eyes were on Sachin in his farewell test and the team wanted to give him a great send off. Team India gave a lap of honour to the Legend which was then followed by the Post Match Presentation. Sachin took the mic and asked the crowd to maintain silence *As that would be the last time he would speak in front of his fans*. He thanked.. his father, his mother, his coach, his wife, his children, his brother, his relatives and all other former cricketers and last but not least he thanked all his fans for supporting him all throughtout his career. By the time he had finished his speech there was a lump in my throat.
The presentation ended, in a rare gesture which is now known to be the greatest – Just when everyone got over the emotional outpouring, he quietly broke the security circle around him, walked towards the centre, alone. Alone among the crowds, he bent down and paid his last respects to the pitch that nurtured him. That, for me, was the perfect ending.
Six years on, Tendulkar’s legacy continues to warm the hearts of Indian cricket fans.
It was an END TO THE SACHIN TENDULKAR ERA