Sir Don Bradman once remarked to his wife during the 1996 World Cup that this man reminded him of his times as a batsman. There is a famous anecdote in cricketing circles that the match fixers will not get on with their unscrupulous conspiracies until this man is on the crease. The bowlers who scalp his wicket value it as the priced possession of their career. While the cricket lovers worship him as a deity worthy to be placed on a pedestal, the younger players draw inspiration from his heroics. Yes, this is how Sachin has manifested various hues in the lives of myriads of people.
The master blaster recently achieved the incredible feat of scoring more than 17,000 ODI runs in international cricket. The Rajiv Gandhi stadium in Hyderabad was the witness to this milestone on the red-letter day of 5th November as Tendulkar clipped the last ball of the fifth over bowled by Ben Hilfenhaus towards square leg for three runs. Those invaluable three runs finally buried the palpable tension of millions of spectators and the atmosphere of nervousness and anxiety as the whole stadium stood up to hail the phenomenal right-hander. His innings of 175 against the Aussies was a befitting compliment to a 20-year long career, which has had its own share of ups and downs.
The grandfather of the Indian cricket team (as he is fondly called by his teammate Yuvraj Singh) shows no signs of tiring and each of his innings underlines his inherent desire to be a part of the 2011 World Cup, He has an appetite for more runs; a deep urge to play for India and it is this yearning, which inspires him to spin magic with the bat. Many of the cricketing legends feel that the day this hunger dies, it will be curtains down for this batting maestro.
Whenever he steps on the field, a collective roar of Sachin! Sachin! fills the stands. Whenever he is adjudged out, a pall of gloom and silence descends over the stadium. Such is the burden of expectations on him that anything less than a hundred from his is considered a failure. He is considered the man with the Midas touch, a man who can single-handedly reverse the fortunes of the team when it is in doldrums.
His adieu to the game will definitely be a moment of sadness for the nation where cricket is a religion and he the God. His numerous followers will surely place his name as a ledger in their hearts and the memories of his centuries will remain etched in the minds of millions of cricket lovers worldwide. But for now, the blistering career, which started with a blob is in full swing and who knows the little dynamite might make more giant leaps to amass many more runs. At this moment, the famous lines of Longfellow echo in my mind
Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime
And in departing leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time;
Footprints that perhaps another
Sailing over life's solemn main
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother
Seeing, shall take heart again.