I am what Sachin Tendulkar fans love to call a 'hater'. Everybody had their chance to say goodbye to him. Maybe, we haters must have our chance too. For we too followed him as closely as his fans did.
Hater is too strong a word, but we'll go with it. Frankly, most of us are not haters of Tendulkar, but we do hate the hyperbole around him. We acknowledge his greatness, only without the hyperbole. We are haters not of Tendulkar, but of his most rabid fans - the kind that wanted India to collapse immediately after he was out in his final Test innings, and wished for huge scores from Chris Gayle and Shivnarine Chanderpaul. There were several Indian fans that hoped for this course of events just so that Tendulkar might have had another chance to bat, even at the risk of potentially losing the match. In an effort to argue against such attitudes, we end up arguing against the man. We too felt sentimental when he was out for the last time; only for the sentiments to be overtaken by nausea when we saw fans wishing for India's collapse.
Tendulkar is a great batsman; one of the greatest of all time and possibly the greatest of his time. You will be hard-pressed to find a 'hater' who does not hold this opinion. We are haters of those people who hate us for holding this opinion. For us, Tendulkar is not God. He isn't 'undoubtedly the greatest batsman of all time'. This is not the time to talk about why he is only possibly the greatest of his time. For, most people consider this an insult to the man. So let me leave with a sentiment that might warm everybody's hearts.
Tendulkar is the standard against which all batting was measured for as long as he played. If you wanted to say Steve Waugh was the best batsman, you had to measure him up against Tendulkar and prove it. If you wanted to say Brian Lara was the best batsman, you had to measure him up against Tendulkar. Same with Rahul Dravid and Ricky Ponting. Whoever else we liked, we had to keep an eye on Tendulkar. For me, there is no bigger tribute to him than that.
If that is not enough, well you know what to call me.
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