Sachin Tendulkar's retirement October 10, 2013

The unimpeachable straight bat

ESPNcricinfo staffers pick their top Tendulkar moments

Who is Sachin?
Arya Yuyutsu: My mum yelped in delight as I dawdled around, amazed at the lack of attention I was getting. I may have been 6, but I was pampered and spoilt and it seemed unfair that mum was yelping in delight at a little man in blue clothes wielding some sort of wooden stick, raising it over his head in indiscernible manner.

"Who's he?" I mumbled, visibly irked.

"Sachin Tendulkar!" gasped mum, visibly excited.

"Who is Sachin Tendulkar?" I asked, noticeably upset.

"Someone very special," replied mum, noticeably overawed, "he is an Indian God!"

I've never been forced towards any religion or belief, but mum made sure I believed in the one physical God that mattered - Sachin Tendulkar!
Arya Yuyutsu is a multimedia journalist at ESPNcricinfo

The first glimpse
Umar Farooq: I first saw Sachin Tendulkar in person during a net session at SuperSport Park in Centurion, during the 2009 Champions Trophy. I was excited and wondered how to make the best of the moment, but decided against asking for an autograph, handshake or picture. I wanted something more valuable, and so I stood behind the grille separating us by five or six feet and watched his every movement. As an admirer of his smooth straight drive, I hoped he would play it repeatedly for me, and as if on cue Tendulkar asked Gary Kirsten if he could come closer and throw so that he could play straight. Coincidence it may have been, but it was like those moments were especially for me.
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent

Deliverance from above
Shiva Jayaraman: I had bunked school that day, possibly for the first time, and stayed home, feigning illness, to watch an India-Pakistan ODI. Guilt ridden as I already was, I saw it as just punishment that first the match was stripped of ODI status, and then Pakistan plundered some 150-odd runs from 20 overs. And then Tendulkar happened: a mere lad who took apart Abdul Qadir in one over. The gods had better things to do than punish a boy for bunking school, after all, or maybe Sachin Tendulkar brought me deliverance that day.
Shiva Jayaraman is a sub-editor (stats) at ESPNcricinfo

Mohammad Isam: The wide verandah on top of the press box at the Shere Bangla National Stadium was a squeeze, as 30,000 people waited for Sachin Tendulkar's 100th hundred. I had gone upstairs when he was in the eighties, to get a sense of the packed house down below. When the moment arrived, I was standing straight behind and above Tendulkar as he jogged the single to his very own fiefdom. The sweeping 360-degree view vibrated as one. I can tell my grandkids that I was there.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent

The man who made the country smile
Jayaditya Gupta: As a journalist I've worked in cities across India as different from each other as Kolkata and Chandigarh, Baroda and Bangalore. Almost the sole constant has been cricket, which transcends the usual barriers of language, class, caste, religion; and nothing in cricket has been so unifying a factor as Tendulkar. For 24 years he has been a lightning rod for our emotions; a Tendulkar century could lift spirits on the gloomiest of days, a failure could plunge the country into deep despair. No other single Indian - and I choose my words carefully - has had the ability to make the entire country smile. My guess is that's another record that will go with him.
Jayaditya Gupta is executive editor at ESPNcricinfo

Dignity in the face of tragedy
Kanishkaa Balachandran: Sachin Tendulkar won several battles with his mind on the field, but there's one story of his mental strength off it that stands out for me. In the 1999 World Cup, with the hopes of millions resting on his shoulders, I remembered the shock when news came of his father¹s death early in the tournament.

Tendulkar returned home. He needed his space. And time. Incredibly, he chose to return to England after missing just one game, but despite the relief there was the inescapable doubt ­ would he be the same again? Had he rushed it? Those doubts were cleared in a breathtaking innings of 140 off 101 balls against Kenya in Bristol. Tendulkar was in the zone. He didn't let personal tragedy come between him and his responsibility to the country. He bottled up his emotions when he spoke after the game, maintaining his dignity. More than sympathy and admiration, the biggest thing you felt for him during that episode was respect.
Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

The day I didn't meet Tendulkar
Amol Karhadkar: Having earned a few prizes in table tennis, I will always regret missing what would have been my most cherished prize. As a 13-year-old, I was supposed to receive it from Sachin Tendulkar, who was the guest of honour at a state-ranking table tennis tournament at Khar Gymkhana in 1994. Sadly, what stood between me and meeting the man was conjunctivitis. The infection meant I had to skip the prize distribution ceremony, which was held two days after my event was over. Cut to November 2013, when Tendulkar will return to the dressing room from a cricket field one last time. I wouldn't mind if the eyes are wet (though not sore), in one of the rare moments of the fan in me overtaking the cynical journalist. Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Australia via Edinburgh
Alagappan Muthu: I hadn't expected to be homesick in Edinburgh, considering the place has long been one of my dream destinations, but Sachin Tendulkar was there to save the day, if only via Youtube. It was Diwali and the quiet guy, as my room-mates called me, nearly woke up half the neighbourhood while watching one of the millions of Tendulkar montages strewn around cyberspace. They assumed I had had a bad dream, and a few embarrassed apologies later, we were all crouched around my laptop as Brett Lee was treated to a straight drive that might even have been the redemption of the phrase "tracer bullet". You know the one I'm talking about - the fourth match of the Commonwealth Bank tri-series in 2008, which India won - when all Tendulkar did was meet the ball with that almost unimpeachable straight bat.
Alagappan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

With Sachin, alone
Devashish Fuloria: An early morning in March 1994, I woke up in time to catch India's chase against New Zealand in Auckland. The target was below 150, but when Tendulkar walked out to open, I got anxious, fidgety, jumpy.

He launched a manic attack on the bowlers. I was not sure if I was watching a real match. I moved around the room, looked for someone to talk to, but everyone was outside, celebrating Holi. I watched the innings with trepidation, a fear that drew me in. Then, when you least expected it, he was out, to a spinner. Caught and bowled. I was relieved in a way that it was over. I wanted to talk about what I had just seen, but there was no one, and we didn't have a phone back then. It was almost like he played that innings just for me. It was the last time I ever watched Tendulkar alone.
Devashish Fuloria is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

The shot heard around the world
Rohan Sharma: Sachin Tendulkar's career has almost spanned my entire existence, and it wasn't till the 1996 World Cup that I caught my first glimpse of the unassuming boy next door who ripped apart world-class attacks with disdain, and bore the hopes of a nation on his shoulders. His 134 during Operation Desert Storm ranks as one of his finest tons, played against a red-hot Australian team, with a heady mix of deft touches and calculated malice. One shot that stood out was a lofted six back over Michael Kasprowicz's head that seemed to lift higher as the crowd's intensity swelled.
Rohan Sharma is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Give the ball to Tendulkar
George Binoy: I enjoyed watching Sachin Tendulkar most when he was in the field, perhaps because the knot in my stomach when he was batting during the 1990s was too much to overcome. If Tendulkar failed, in all probability so would India. That weight, however, was rarely visible on his face when he batted under a helmet. He just looked focused and determined.

The joy that he said cricket constantly gave him was visible when Tendulkar was bowling. He smiled more, and wore his emotions as batsmen underestimated the degree of his spin and swing. Tendulkar could bowl everything - both kinds of spin, and swing it out and in; another example of his genius.

Six runs to defend off the final over? Don't give it to Kapil Dev, Srinath or Prabhakar, but to Tendulkar.
George Binoy is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

His most memorable moments

What's your favourite Sachin Tendulkar memory? Write to us via the comments section on this story

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Android on October 25, 2013, 19:51 GMT

    i remembered the day in 1994 chasing against kiwis;sachin opened the innings..amazing display of powerful hitting!!!

  • Android on October 25, 2013, 18:25 GMT

    my memory dates back to that deadly sharjah cup match were sachin scored some 80 something in 94-95.. wasim was in his prime... i remember the words from commentary box imran khan saying to sunny gavaskar that Sachin was struggling to play wasim as Sachin was hit on his helmet couple of times in that innings.... and imran was speaking to gavaskar the next ball from Wasim pitched short Sachin hooks him of ovet square leg for a huge six..... trust me there was a lull in commentary box for more 5 mins imran didnt utter a word until gavaskar started.... thats the kind if silence that Sachin brings to everyone.... Although he got out of Saqlain bowling but the clash between Sachin and Wasim really was a treat not just for the viewers but also for the commentators at the pressbox.

  • Sudheer on October 17, 2013, 20:07 GMT

    The night of 22nd April 1998 - I was in a boarding school prepping for a highly competitive entrance test that would get me a college admission. That place is on par with Alcatraz a.k.a The Rock with fenced compound walls, wardens taking rounds to check on the students and what not. A bunch of us (toppers of class included) collaborated and successfully crossed the 10 foot fenced wall to get to a nearest mom and pop store that has a 14" TV. That probably btw is the most wildest thing ever for most of us. Boy oh boy, we have no idea that was going to be one of the cherished memories of our lives. We watched the master demolishing Aussie quality bowling attack to get India qualified for the finals. The kind of entertainment we got that day is just unforgettable. The positive attitude/confidence levels we returned with that day is something that never left us. THANK YOU SACHIN for a life lesson - NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE. That night went into the history books as Operation Sand Storm!!!

  • Dummy4 on October 16, 2013, 11:01 GMT

    My first memory of Sachin, was when I was 4years old, in 1993, when I saw him on TV and I remember asking my brother, who is this? From that day, I tried to become this one person in life, cricket became my life, sachin became my God. Sachin was everything, i tried to imitate everything he did, know all stats of him, everything. I remember my first live match in Bangalore with my uncle, I was allowed free because I was way too young. He thrashed the South africans with a 100. From then on I have watched every match he played at Bangalore. Though we dont know him personally, he has taught values of passion, humility, determination, integrity which will always live on. Childhood to now, cricket was just him, the joy he has bought me and millions of us. From buying the same 'mrf' bat, to keeping posters of him, he was more than an idol. His best innings according to me was the 214 in bangalore, and in ODIs, the sharjah desertstorm.

  • Dummy4 on October 14, 2013, 9:39 GMT

    I was working for DELHI DAREDEVILS when a day before a match between DD and Mumbai Indians, Sachin Tendulkar was practicing and he turned around to start walking towards us and said 'HI'.. :)

  • Dummy4 on October 12, 2013, 22:18 GMT

    I was 9 years when my father got the cable connection in the house so as we could watch other channels as well apart from doordarshan. In the night when everyone was done watching Terminator-2, I switched to Star Sports. I witnessed something special which created my love for the game. Sachin was smashing Shane Warne, Michael Kasprowicz, Damien Fleming, Mark Waugh, Daren Lehman, Tom Moody and even Steve Waugh all around the packed stadium in Sharjah. He was the only one who was batting, Whenever the other batsman was at strike, they all took single and gave the strike to Sachin who was hitting the ball so well. I felt Tony Grieg enjoyed his batting more than me sitting on the marble flooring in front of the television. When he got out on 143, for me the entertainment was over.

  • Devendra on October 12, 2013, 20:27 GMT

    There are so many memories to choose from, its impossible to pick one. He had great battles with some of the best bowlers of his time. We always used to look forward to his duels with bated breath. The way he took the attack to Warne at Chennai, McGrath at Nairobi, Akhtar at Centurion, Olonga at Sharjah, Steyn at Gwalior, Donald at Capetown etc. was simply breathtaking. There will never be anyone like him & cricket won't be same without him. We have been truly privileged to have seen the great man during our lifetime.

  • Dummy4 on October 12, 2013, 14:57 GMT

    We were in Nagpur on vacation and my Dad informed us that we'd watching the 4th India-Australia Test in the new Jamtha stadium. The day of arrived and India had won the toss and elected to bat; we were flying back the next day so God truly loved us. Sehwag raced to his 50. The wall was out for a duck so that was disappointing but it also meant Sachin would walk out. Jamtha is 20 km away from the main city. In a stadium made for 30,000 only 3,500 were present. The roar when the great man walked out must have reached Haldiram's in the city. Sachin displayed everything in his repertoire that day - the patience, the skill, the timing, the aggression. On 88 and 96, a part of the Sachin innings when the crowd is more nervous than him, he was dropped. And he went on to make his century. That day I felt GOD wanted me to see Sachin score a century. But I later realized it was probably because even GOD wanted Sachin to score a century. In a life filled with stunning moments it's unfair to pick 1

  • Dummy4 on October 12, 2013, 14:53 GMT

    I have watched so many matches of Sachin, but have never seen him as intense or committed in a game as that of 2003 WC semifinal against Pakistan, set a stiff target to chase someone had to play a blinder in such a crunch game and the way he shut of Akthar with that first over of his was just amazing, and then he tamed Waqar and then Wasim and then Afridi, he not only had to counter these bowlers but also the physical problem his hamstring/cramp was giving, he countered all those, but the hamstring/cramp was giving him so much trouble that for the first time in his career he had to call a runner, he feel agonizingly short of a 100, when people thought he would get a century and take us to the final, had he got there it would have been as big as the sharjah storm inngs, this inngs in centurion kind of epitomizes what sachin gave us, the fans......lots of joy and some agony and not to forget the 'expectation' ...thankyou for the memories Sachin...

  • Dummy4 on October 12, 2013, 11:37 GMT

    It will take months to believe Tendulkar has retired and a year to express his contribution to Indian cricket and impact on Indian fans. Please be reminded he was not only a ODI batsman. He played many top class innings in Test matches. Lets start with just Test matches and forget ODI for few weeks :-)