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Muhammad Ali and Sachin Tendulkar were men who went beyond the boundaries of their sport to capture the imagination of entire nations. They were similar in some ways, but it is their differences that shine a light on the times they lived in, on their cultures, on ourselves, notes Sriram Venkateshwaran on the blog Scribbles on sand.
The chief one is this: Ali, with a raised mirror in one hand and a raised finger in the other, asked a society to stare at its reflection and focus on the ugliness. He took on outsized social causes, civil rights for the black people and protests against the Vietnam war, and spent time out of the boxing ring at the peak of his career. Tendulkar, on the other hand, was like Steve Jobs: he gave a society what it yearned for even before they realized that this was what they wanted.
After Tendulkar, who? The thought of life without Tendulkar on the field might seem unimaginable to many, but in reality, it might not be a bad thing because the current generation of batsmen have proven that they can build on his legacy, writes Shashi Tharoor in BBC News.
Tendulkar was the diminutive colossus who showed his countrymen that an Indian, too, could be the world's best. He was elevated to God in the country's cricketing pantheon. But the confident India of 2013, with a stronger economy that carries more weight in the world, an India wooed and courted by global leaders, doesn't need a God to project its capabilities. Mere mortals are good enough to win when winning comes naturally.
In The Economic Times, Mukul Kesavan writes that he can finally turn his Tendulkar memories into a movie, after editing out the last two-and-a-half years.
This elision isn't vandalism, it's a restoration. Removing layers of varnish from the surface of an Old Master reveals its real colours and these last two years have obscured the man. In one cut we lose the commentators serving up praise like solicitous waiters, Tendulkar's peers doubling as embedded embalmers, the commemorative idiocy that made this two Test 'series' feel like a Papa Doc pageant;it's gone, like a bad dream that didn't happen.
Tendulkar epitomised the new India of the late 1980s but his presence in the current Indian team was anomalous with the current loud, muscle-flexing nation, writes Arghya Sengupta, in The Hindu.
When Sachin exited the Wankhede Stadium after his knock of 74 for the last time as a batsman and Virat Kohli, walked in, the symbolism was obvious. Kohli, the new youth icon, like Sachin was in my growing up years, is supremely talented. But unlike Sachin, he lets the world know that. He abuses, irrespective of whether he is happy or sad, shows little respect for the opposition, wears his Indianness on his sleeve in a manner that suggests a woeful lack of understanding of what it means to be Indian.
Author Amitava Kumar, in The Indian Express, writes about staying in the team hotel in Mumbai during Tendulkar's farewell Test, and why Sachin was the son he wanted to be.
When the time came to say goodbye after the last West Indies wicket had fallen, Sachin reverently touched the cricket pitch and then, in his speech, thanked his late father as the most important person in his life. I admit I shed a tear. Because it is Indian to cry. We learn it from our films and even our cricketers.
In the same paper, an editorial states that Tendulkar's playing legacy demands he evolve into a guardianship role for the sport.
Rohit Brijnath, the veteran cricket writer, blogs his views on watching Tendulkar's retirement speech at the Wankhede, and how his words resonated with fans across different strata and walks of life Irrespective if you were young, old or in the middle, the day would be one of mourning for Indian cricket fans. Such scenes are a rarity in world sport.
So often he batted with such concentration one might presume he was deaf to a nation's plea and prayer, yet he was listening. "Sachin, Sachin", this chant he heard, this chant he would never forget. "Sachin, Sachin", he said, would "reverberate in my ears till I stop breathing". Today, finally, his speech done, he did his lap of honour, then walked alone to the pitch, this 22-yard strip on which he became a myth, a man, a marvel. He stood on his piece of favourite earth, just him and the dust of his past. He touched the ground with both hands, he made a sign of respect, he left. Cricket had been left behind.
Tom Alter captures the mood of a typical Indian fan in his column on Mid-day waiting with bated breath to see how the Little Master performs on the next day of a Test, including all the emotions and anxieties that would come into play.
At about 9:30 you turn on the TV, not to watch, but just to set the mood. The volume is off, and only images touch the corner of your vision, as you make yourself breakfast and switch off anything that makes a sound, from telephone to doorbell to alarm, you pull the curtains shut. You might, just might, call your son to get his comments or feelings. No one else, except for two old friends with whom you have shared the journey so deeply and richly, are worthy of your thoughts right now. Breakfast comes and goes -- energy for the day. You set your chair, the old rocking chair, at just the right angle. You thank all the gods that no one is at home, that your wife is working at school and that all friends and relatives that might suddenly arrive are thousands of miles away.
Writing in his blog, Different Shades of Green, Brian Carpenter recounts his first exposure to Sachin Tendulkar, and how he initially dismissed Tendulkar's early signs of greatness as something that would tide over. But slowly, as time crept on, he realised the significance of what this young batsman had done and had evolved into.
The first time I ever heard his name was in 1988 when Bill Frindall brought Test Match Special listeners the news of his unbroken partnership of 664 with Vinod Kambli in the Harris Shield. There was interest in this, even a fair bit of astonishment, but it didn't stick in the mind. The easy tendency was to ascribe it to the old Indian tradition of dead pitches and mountainous scores and move on. I didn't think I'd ever hear much about either of them again.
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