November 15, 2013

After Sachin, what now for Indian fans?

All is not lost. Keep hope alive, people

It's the end of the world as we know it for Sachin Tendulkar fans. But do not despair, Indian cricket lovers: there's still so much to look forward to even though the great man will no longer be in the side.

1) In just another 182 matches' time, Murali Vijay will play his 200th Test, and is on target to score his 1500th Test run in that game. A wonderful colourful display of 1500 rose petals will be showered upon him, from a small bin.

2) The awarding of the highest level of 2013-14 BCCI central contract to a promising youngster by the name of Sachin Tendulkar. Definitely one to watch for the future, and good to see the young man getting a much-needed financial shot in the arm.

3) The eagerly anticipated one ODI and half a Test match series that the BCCI has so graciously agreed to play against some mob called South Africa in a few weeks' time.

4) Sachin not having to face Dale Steyn and company on their home patch this winter, despite a personal plea from Suresh Raina to come and help out.

5) With the team now short of international experience, there could be comebacks to the top table for hungry stars like Zaheer Khan, Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan Singh. All of whom get very hungry indeed if they haven't had a snack for a few minutes.

6) Chance of Sachin going into politics on a serious basis, which should definitely help reduce his popularity to a more human level of affection.

7) Always the possibility of arranging a couple of easy-win games against Bangladesh if Sachin feels like coming out of retirement for a bit of a free hit, a policy that has in fairness worked well before.

8) Vacancy has opened up for a new Indian player to be deified, worshipped and adored (suggested by a Mr V Kohli).

9) Serious concern about the welfare of sport feature writers and bloggers, bereft of things to do and exhausted from all the "The Sachin Only I Knew - In Stats" articles, beginning to roam the streets in packs, loitering on corners, hanging around desperately, waiting for Jacques Kallis to do the decent thing.

10) Possible commercial opportunities for Sachin to team up with other international big names of his era, including selling underpants with Shane Warne, winding people up on the radio with Michael Vaughan, or becoming a boxer with Andrew Flintoff. Let's hope not.

Read an extract from Alan's new book Tutenkhamen's Tracksuit: The History of Sport in 100ish Objects, here