October 11, 2013

Sachin Tendulkar retires

Bradman is the only benchmark to judge Tendulkar

A calm Sachin Tendulkar had asked Boria Majumdar to talk about something else, citing he did not want to contemplate retired life before he had officially retired. Writing in Times of India, Majumdar highlights on Tendulkar's feats, his stature among the greats of the game, the expectations he had to shoulder and how he lived to play for India.

The only batsman against whom Sachin can truly be benchmarked is Sir Don Bradman. But Bradman never played with the pressure of carrying the hopes of a billion-plus people on his shoulders

"At times, the crowd was so loud that it added to my nervous tension at the start of the innings," Tendulkar said. "I would walk down the wicket and tap it for a while, giving myself an extra 15-20 seconds to adjust. I'd be hoping that in this extra time the crowd would mellow a little and settle down." He will have to perform this ritual in two more Tests. And it's certain that the crowd will not settle down in 20 seconds. The applause to mark his last walks to and from the wicket will reverberate around the world.

Speaking to Sumit Mukherjee of the same paper, former Australia captain Greg Chappell says Tendulkar's speciality lies in how easily he answered the bowler's challenge

A day after Tendulkar announced his decision to retire from cricket after his 200th Test, Ben Dirs, writing for BBC Sport asks where Tendulkar stands when compared to the greats of other sports - the likes of Roger Federer, Tiger Woods, Muhammed Ali, Michael Jordan and Pele. He concludes by saying Tendulkar is "on the top table".

To score 100 international centuries, it was necessary for Tendulkar to be at the top of the game for 24 years, which in any sport is extraordinary. In that time, at least until his struggles of the past two seasons, he has suffered nary a blip. He had a rough time in Tests in 2006, but the following year he scored 776 runs at an average of 55.4. Not much of a blip. Paul Gascoigne had more talent in his big toe than most England footballers playing today. But truly great? It is difficult to countenance the idea - too few highlights, far too many lows.

In the Australian, Michael Atherton says Tendulkar is "a superhero for our times".

The span of Tendulkar's career has seen remarkable changes in the game. International cricket has become challenged by franchise cricket; Test cricket challenged by, first, one-day and then Twenty20 cricket. Yet Tendulkar's game, the art and craft of his batting, has not changed at all. I played in the game when, aged just 17, he scored his maiden Test hundred and in essence he remains the same player now. Of course, the eyesight might have dimmed a little and the reflexes slowed, but he uses the same classical, simple method that he has always used. For nearly 25 years, he has been the gold standard. The batsman against whom all others are measured.

On top of 20 years of Test match cricket, Sachin has played in 463 one-day internationals. And remember the one-day game is more emotionally and physically draining because of its frenetic pace. This guy has kept all that together for nearly a quarter of a century. Why? asks Geoffrey Boycott in the Telegraph.

Because he has no weaknesses. He has been the complete batsmen. He has a wonderful technique and an all-round game that can play spin, seam or fast bowling. He has been a model batsman with concentration and patience that any youngster should model themselves on. He has made so many hundreds on good pitches, but I think you see his class really shine when the pitch is helpful to the bowlers. When you have a deteriorating surface it makes it more difficult for batsmen to stay in, never mind score runs.

Suresh Menon, in Mumbai Mirror, ponders what lies next for Tendulkar, a man who has known nothing but the game of cricket.

There is charity work (Sachin is quietly involved in this, but this could now become a mainline occupation). There is business, perhaps after hiring dedicated professionals. There is politics - Sachin is already a Rajya Sabha member, and can make a difference in the Upper House. It would be a pleasant change from his career in sport with its share of politics to one in politics which needs all the sport it can get in terms of attitude and professionalism. Personally, I think what he would most look forward to is a long break from everything

Even before the era of T20s, Tendulkar's innovations have captivated audiences the world over. But Ruchir Joshi of Telegraph India, has been struggling to hold on to the image of a classical Tendulkar innings with the continuous churning of slam-bang cricket, which has forced him to adapt his game.

It's also undeniable that in the ODI World Cup we finally won (oh, feels like decades ago) and on a few other recent occasions, Tendu the team man synched perfectly with much younger players to bring us Indians great joy. Nevertheless, it's impossible to get away from the feeling that you're watching some strange admixture bubble and boil. Especially after the departure of Dravid and Laxman, it's almost as if Tendulkar and Dhoni and Co have been playing in different, parallel teams, teams with the same aim of winning, sure, but like two very different YouTube links running simultaneously.

In the Indian Express, Sandeep Dwivedi describes how Tendulkar coped with age and injury and adjusted his game to enjoy his greatest year in Test cricket at the age of 37.

In the final third of his career, Tendulkar was maintaining a shortened back lift with a minimal follow-through, using the power-packed strokes of old judiciously or tweaking them slightly, concentrating more on placement and less on power. Earlier, he might have whipped straight balls forcefully off his legs; now, Tendulkar merely guided them. The low back lift reduced the force on the wrists, allowing him to time the ball to perfection. Similarly, on the off-side, he didn't quite launch into thumping drives, but let the deliveries slide off the face of his bat. Short balls aimed at the throat were nonchalantly directed over the slips and while facing spinners, he rarely went for the fierce sweep, opting instead for the fine paddle.

In Mint, Ayaz Memon writes: "To encapsulate a career such as Tendulkar's in a few hundred words would be impossible for the simple reason that he is more than just a sportsperson, at least in the Indian context. Through his prowess as a cricketer and his personality, he became a metaphor of something bigger: a New Age India."

Like the Pied Piper, he called hundreds of young children to take their chances with cricket. Parents felt that they might as well try their luck, inspired by him. Perhaps Rahul Dravid with his determined work ethic and dogged persistence would have been a better practice model than Tendulkar, but tell a child that you have to practice 10 hours a day and he might run the other way. Tendulkar made you feel that you could

Tendulkar scored 11 Test centuries against Australia and the late Peter Roebuck watched all of them. The Sydney Morning Herald has published Roebuck's reports on each of those hundreds - from the SCG in 1991-92 to Bangalore 2010-11.

In Perth a star is born: Sometimes it is a privilege simply to be there. Perth yesterday was one such occasion. To see Sachin Tendulkar batting was, for two hours, to be transported from our humdrum world and taken to a distant land, a land of magic, an impossible land in which a boy of 18 summers can bat as man can seldom ever have batted. One shot, in particular, will linger long in the memory. Mike Whitney, it was, who bowled a fastish delivery just short of a length and around middle stump. Tendulkar rocked on to his back foot and drove straight of mid-on, a shot demanding extraordinary timing, a shot of the highest pedigree. Since time began, few players can have conceived, let alone executed, a stroke such as this, let alone in a Test match and with his team in trouble

"Two-thirds of India's population is too young to even remember a cricket world without Tendulkar. Reality will really bite hard when India play their first Test without him, whether that's in South Africa or New Zealand," writes Dileep Premachandran for Wisden India. "When the second wicket falls, there'll be that familiar frisson of anticipation, that waiting for the buzz in the crowd to reach a crescendo. Then, you'll slowly realise that it's not the familiar figure striding out, but someone else. That's when it will hit you, like an uppercut to the chin."

In the Guardian, Andy Bull shares a Tendulkar anecdote from Allan Donald.

"He hit me for two fours in a row, one through point, one past gully. That was the end of the over, and then I told Jonty Rhodes, who was at point, to be alert because I knew a way to get Sachin out. So I delivered the first ball of my next over, outside off stump just like the other two, only a little fuller. As he hit it I shouted: 'Catch!' and, to my astonishment, it went to the cover boundary." Three balls, almost identical, each played in three subtly different but equally effective ways. Tendulkar mastered an art that defies easy understanding. The cognition, the selection, the execution. It is all done in the time it takes to tap your finger twice on a table.

On Starsports.com, Deepak Narayanan asks when the reality of Tendulkar's retirement will hit home.

It'll sink in when India play South Africa. It'll sink in when the second wicket falls and Sachin doesn't walk out to bat. It'll sink in when, instead of a familiar roar when the number 4 walks in, we'll hear an unnatural silence. Because that is the essence of Sachin, the stuff you want to bottle and preserve - the buzz as you watched him walk to the middle, the jangling nerves as he took guard, the audible "uff" in the stands as he leant regally into another straight drive. Convince yourself otherwise, but you - we - will only truly know what a Sachin-shaped vacuum feels like when we're finally in it.

In the Indian Express, Karthik Krishnaswamy writes: All of us who grew up with Tendulkar know this sadness, the sadness of losing the last link to your childhood. And sports fans feel that loss more keenly than most. A couple of months ago, three of my colleagues and I discovered over rum and Coke that we had shared a childhood, living thousands of miles apart. We had watched the same matches, experienced the same thrills and, more vividly, the same heartbreaks. Late at night in 2002, as May 21 became May 22, Tendulkar had caused all four of us to harbour the hope that India would successfully chase 408 against the West Indies in Kingston. And then, as Pedro Collins got one to keep low and bowl him for 86 (India 170/4), all four of us -- watching in Chennai, Madurai, Mumbai and Muzaffarnagar -- cursed the left-armer. Eleven years on, we were still cursing Collins."

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Posted by   on (October 17, 2013, 11:21 GMT)

Good Bye Sachin. Thank You for leaving space to the youngsters.

Posted by   on (October 11, 2013, 11:45 GMT)

for me, cricket is sachin. all my childhood, i watched only his batting, i never watched whole of india innings after sachin got out. when he gets out, tv is off, i go out to play with my friends. i very rarely watched cricket from 2004 to 2011 because from 2004 onwards, his reflexes slowed down n the aggressive style of batting is gone due to the wear n tear of his body. now i'm 26, i'm going to watch his final test next month. after that cricket is dead for me. i'll not watch cricket anymore. because when i've already seen the best of cricket for so long, i've no interest in seeing anything less standard. from 2012, i'm watching shane watson only. but i've a feeling that watson's best is over n with that cricket is over for me.

Posted by AhmadRyan on (October 11, 2013, 8:32 GMT)

Beautifully written. Moved me to tears!

Posted by sandy_bangalore on (October 11, 2013, 6:00 GMT)

I badly wanted to raed the Atherton article. But it required us to subsribe to the Australian. Can anyone post a link from somewhere where I can read it for free?

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