Cricket is regarded as a religion in India. And Sachin Tendulkar is considered to be the GOD of that religion. These very lines are enough to describe the position held by the Mumbaikar. In 1989, he came to play the game of cricket at an age of just 16. And over the years he went on to become the inevitable emotion of the game, the undisputed monarch of the game.
No, certainly I, Ritam Roy, am not going to talk about the whole career of Sachin as one mere article can do no justice in telling the story of Tendulkar minutely. It will take several blogs to cover the career of the legend. So in this blog we will restrict our discussion only to the last two test matches played by arguably the greatest batsman of all time.
Tendulkar’s 199th Test in 2013 at Eden Gardens:
The day was 10th of October in the year 2013. On that day Sachin announced his ensuing retirement from test cricket. He had earlier removed himself from other forms of cricket. So, the ending of test career meant his ultimate retirement from all forms of cricket. Sachin always wanted to play his last match in his native soil. So BCCI hastily scheduled a two test match series against West Indies in order to bid him adieu . The two matches were to be held at Eden Gardens, Kolkata and Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai respectively.
On 6th of November,2013 the first test began at the Eden Gardens. A mood of festivity overshadowed the ground as someone who defines cricket was playing his 199th test match. The match was also special for Rohit Sharma, Mohammad Shami and Sheldon Cottrell, for they made their debut in test cricket with this match. And both Rohit and Shami did some fabulous jobs from their sides. Shami took 4 and 5 wickets in the respective innings. Rohit enabled him to put on 177 runs from his side. For any debutant these figures are no less than a dream.
Sachin the bowler sent Shilliongford back:
In the first innings just before the tea break the then Indian captain MS Dhoni gave the ball to Sachin. And the bowler Sachin showed Shillingford the way to pavilion with a straight delivery that resulted in lbw. And with this Sachin took his 46th test wicket and achieved the feat of taking 200th international wickets. And he ranked himself in 15th position in the table of most international wicket takers of India. But the irony is that Shillingford took revenge by taking the wicket of Sachin by lbw. The 40-year old could not do much with the bat as he had to close his innings for 10(24).
At the end of the match that is how the scoreboard looked like this :
West Indies: 234 & 163 India: 453. India won by an innings and 51 runs.
CAB left no stones unturned to make the test a gala event. Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee came to felicitate Sachin for his outstanding contribution to the game. Gifts, congratupassin and greetings showered upon him. Days went by. Everyone waited for the main event of watching the God one last time in the temple (Cricket-field).
#OTD Sachin Tendulkar's farewell to cricket.
— Sportstar (@sportstarweb) November 16, 2021
Wankhede staged for Tendulkar’s 200th Test:
On 14th of November,2013 arrived the last match of Sachin Tendulkar. An era stretched over 24 years was at the verge of deadline. Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) was the main organizer behind the grand ceremony for bidding farewell to the apple of Cricket’s eye. Wankhede Stadium was packed up with thousands of people who were present there to witness a history in making.
India won the toss and elected to field first. Dignitaries and celebrities graced the place with their presence but besides all those joy & excitement, the emotional air was blowing all over the stadium which was adorned with the photos of significant moments and achievements of Sachin Tendulkar. He became the only Indian after Mother Teresa to have his postal stamp released in their lifetime.
Just imagine a player who had spent 24 years actively associated with the cricket ground, was about to leave it for good as an international player. He had already become an inevitable emotion of the nation and the cricketing world. And all of a sudden you find that from the next match onwards you cannot see him batting with packs of spectators cheering for him. We cannot see any Morning sessions with the bat or throw-downs in the nets.
The feeling of an Indian Team without Sachin Tendulkar:
You have to see an Indian squad without the name of Sachin Tendulkar. You or rather a nation cannot again hope or expect that he would again smash the bowlers to score a century and help India win the match. A captain cannot again rely on him thinking that he would turn out to be the saviour. Doesn’t it hurt you??? It does. It pulls out an unending stream of tears from our eyes.
Who can mend his huge loss?? Who can fill the void??? Nobody! Nobody! Why are we thinking about ourselves only??? Just think about the man we are talking about. What situation had he passed from? Tomorrow is the last time I can officially bat for India. This very thought is enough to snatch away the sound slumber of someone who had been in the fields for two and half decades. Just feel for Sachin. Nothing can break a man mentally more than these thoughts.
However, the game began and West Indian batting line up fell flat on their face. 5 batsmen fell prey to Pragyan Ojha’s bowling. Ravichandran Ashwin took 100th test wickets. MS Dhoni, too, became one of the very few ( 7th ) players to cross 250 dismissals as a wicket keeper. On the other hand India were able to build a handsome total with the help of two centuries by Pujara & Rohit. The former scored 113 while Rohit made 111 not out. As Murli Vijay got out, Indian spectators were celebrating the moment as it meant that little master was about to come to the crease.
The 24-yaer journey is about to stop:
Now, let’s turn back to exactly 24years ago and this very special day (15/11/1989) saw a 16-year old Sachin begin to take bowlers on charge. As Sachin’s feet touched the ground, the whole gallery was shouting “Sachin! Sachin!”. When he was coming down the stairs the stadium wore another look. People present there felt themselves luckiest of all as they were witnessing history being written.
West Indies team venerated Sachin with Guard of Honour. Sachin’s bat was decorated with tri colour as a tribute to Indian National Flag. His every single run with joy and enthusiasm took the atmosphere to another level. He showcased an extraordinary display of batting with a good 74 run innings playing his signature shot, the straight drive.
He was looking good. The whole nation, perhaps the whole world was expecting a century from the little master for one last time. When he reached his 68th half century, the expectations and hope were consolidated. Narsingh Deonarine was the bowler who took the last international wicket of Sachin to get himself in the newspapers headline next morning.
The standing honor from the opponents:
Darren Sammy, the captain of West Indies, took the catch in the slip to end the career of Tendulkar with 79 runs short of 16,000 runs. After that match Shillingford was able to take 5 wickets for five times consecutively. Rohit Sharma played brilliantly with two consecutive centuries in two matches.
And this was the scorecard: West Indies: 182 & 187 India: 495 India won by an innings and 126 runs but lost the services of Sachin Tendulkar for the last time.
#OnThisDay in 2013, Sachin Tendulkar bid farewell to his playing career …
… and an entire country wept 😢pic.twitter.com/4gCZX0yE8S
— Wisden India (@WisdenIndia) November 16, 2020
At the end of the match Sachin returned back to the pitch to offer a “pranam” to the pitch. Just like we worship the God & Goddess in the temple, he worshiped his god ( the pitch) in the ground (the temple). Hardly a true cricket lover can hold back his/her tears in such situations. It was indeed a heart breaking moment. And then he went back to join the team with his hands trying to hide the tears. All was over. We had to say goodbye to the best with teary eyes. It was to happen. Still who wants it to happen??
But we cannot change the destiny as time waits for none. There is nothing much left to say about Sachin Tendulkar because every compliment is small compared to his stature. He is an emotion for all the cricket lovers throughout the world. All I can say is that it was one of the saddest and emotional matches of cricket as we could not see Sachin in the ground playing international matches anymore.
Sachin Tendulkar’s Farewell Speech:
All my friends. Settle down let me talk, I will get more and more emotional (crowd gets louder as he composes himself). My life, between 22 yards for 24 years, it is hard to believe that that wonderful journey has come to an end, but I would like to take this opportunity to thank people who have played an important role in my life. Also, for the first time in my life I am carrying this list, to remember all the names in case I forget someone. I hope you understand. It’s getting a little bit difficult to talk but I will manage.
The most important person in my life, and I have missed him a lot since 1999 when he passed away, my father. Without his guidance, I don’t think I would have been standing here in front of you. He gave me freedom at the age of 11, and told me that [I should] chase my dreams, but make sure you do not find shortcuts. The path might be difficult but don’t give up, and I have simply followed his instructions. Above all, he told me to be a nice human being, which I will continue to do and try my best. Every time I have done something special [and] showed my bat, it was [for] my father.
My mother, I don’t know how she dealt with such a naughty child like me. I was not easy to manage. She must be extremely patient. For a mother, the most important thing is that her child remains safe and healthy and fit. That was what she was most bothered and worried about. She took care of me for the last 24 years that I have played for India, but even before that she started praying for me the day I started playing cricket. She just prayed and prayed and I think her prayers and blessings have given me the strength to go out and perform, so a big thank you to my mother for all the sacrifices.
In my school days, for four years, I stayed with my uncle and aunt because my school was quite far from my home, and they treated me like their son. My aunt, after having had a hard day’s play, I would be half asleep and she would be feeding me food so I could go again and play tomorrow. I can’t forget these moments. I am like their son and I am glad it has continued to be the same way.
My eldest brother, Nitin, and his family, have always encouraged me. My eldest brother doesn’t like to talk much, but the one thing he always told me is that whatever you do, I know you will always give it 100%, and that I have full faith and confidence in you. His encouragement meant a lot to me. My sister, Savita, and her family, was no different. The first cricket bat of my life was presented to me by my sister. It was a Kashmir willow bat. But that is where the journey began. She is one of those many who still continue to fast when I bat, so thank you very much.
Ajit, my brother, now what do I talk about him? I don’t know. We have lived this dream together. He was the one who sacrificed his career for my cricket. He spotted the spark in me. And it all started from the age of 11 when he took me to Archrekar sir, my coach, and from there on my life changed. You will find this hard to believe but even last night he called to discuss my dismissal, knowing that there was a remote chance of batting again, but just the habit we have developed, the rapport we have developed, since my birth, has continued and it will continue. Maybe when I’m not playing cricket we will still be discussing technique.
Various things we agreed upon, my technique, and so many technical things which I didn’t agree with him, we have had arguments and disagreements, but when I look back at all these things in my life, I would have been a lesser cricketer.
The most beautiful thing happened to me in 1990 when I met my wife, Anjali. Those were special years and it has continued and will always continue that way. I know Anjali, being a doctor; there was a wonderful career in front of her. When we decided to have a family, Anjali took the initiative to step back and say that ‘you continue with your cricket and I will take the responsibility of the family’.
Without that, I don’t think I would have been able to play cricket freely and without stress. Thanks for bearing with all my fuss and all my frustrations, and all sorts of rubbish that I have spoken. Thanks for bearing with me and always staying by my side through all the ups and downs. You are the best partnership I’ve had in my life.Then, the two precious diamonds of my life, Sara and Arjun. They have already grown up. My daughter is 16, my son is 14. Time has flown by. I wanted to spend so much time with them on special occasions like their birthdays, their annual days, their sports day, going on holidays, whatever. I have missed out on all those things. Thanks for your understanding. Both of you have been so, so special to me you cannot imagine. I promise you [that] for 14 and 16 years I have not spent enough time with both of you, but the next 16 years or even beyond that, everything is for you.
My in-laws, Anand Mehta and Annabel, both have been so, so supportive [and] loving and caring. I have discussed on various things in life, generally with them, and have taken their advice. You know, it’s so important to have a strong family who is always with you and who are guiding you. Before you start clapping, the most important thing they did was allowing me to marry Anjali, so thank you very much.
In the last 24 years that I have played for India I have made new friends, and before that I have had friends from my childhood. They have all had a terrific contribution. As and when I have called them to come and bowl to me at the nets, they have left their work aside to come and help me. Be it joining me on holidays and having discussions with me on cricket, or how I was a little stressed and wanting to find a solution so I can perform better. All those moments my friends were with me. Even for when I was injured, I would wake up in the morning because I couldn’t sleep and thought that my career was over because of injuries, that is when my friends have woken up at 3 o’clock in the morning to drive with me and make me believe that my career was not over. Life would be incomplete without all those friends. Thanks for being there for me.
My cricket career started when I was 11. The turning point of my career was when my brother (Ajit) took me to Achrekar sir. I was extremely delighted to see him up in the stands. Normally he sits in front of the television and he watches all the games that I play. When I was 11/12, those were the days when I used to hop back on his scooter and play a couple of practice matches a day. The first half the innings I would be batting at Shivaji Park, the second half, at some other match in Azad Maidan. He would take me all over Mumbai to make sure I got match practice.
On a lighter note, in the last 29 years, sir has never ever said ‘well played’ to me because he thought I would get complacent and I would stop working hard. Maybe he can push his luck and wish me now, well done on my career, because there are no more matches, sir, in my life. I will be witnessing cricket, and cricket will always stay in my heart, but you have had an immense contribution in my life, so thank you very much.
My cricket for Mumbai started right here on this ground, the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA), which is so dear to me. I remember landing from New Zealand at four o’clock in the morning, and turning up for a game here at eight o’clock just because I wanted to be a part of Mumbai cricket, and not that somebody forced me. That was for the love of Mumbai cricket, and thank you very much. The president is here so thank you very much, along with your team, for taking care of me and looking after my cricket.
The dream was obviously to play for India, and that is where my association with BCCI started. BCCI was fantastic, right from my debut they believed in my ability and selecting me into the squad at the age of 16 was a big step, so thanks to all the selectors for having faith in me and the BCCI for giving me the freedom to express myself out in the middle. Things would have been different if you had not been behind me, and I really appreciate your support. Especially when I was injured, you were right with me and making sure that all the treatments were taken care of, and that I got fit and fine and playing [right] back for India.
The journey has been special, the last 24 years, I have played with many senior cricketers, and even before that there were many senior cricketers with whom I watched on television. They inspired me to play cricket, and to play in the right way. Thanks to all those senior cricketers, and unfortunately I have not been able to play with them, but I have high regards for all their achievements and all their contributions.
We see it on the mega-screen, Rahul, Laxman, Sourav, and Anil, who is not here, and my team-mates right here in front me. You are like my family away from home. I have had some wonderful times with you. It is going to be difficult to not be part of the dressing room, sharing those special moments. All the coaches for their guidance, it has been special for me. I know when MS Dhoni presented me the 200th Test match cap on Day One morning. I had a brief message for the team. I would like to repeat that. I just feel that all of us are so, so fortunate and proud to be part of the Indian cricket team and serving the nation.
Knowing all of you guys, I know you will continue to serve the nation in the right spirit and right values. I believe we have been the lucky ones to be chosen by the Almighty to serve this sport. Each generation gets this opportunity to take care of this sport and serve it to the best of our ability. I have full faith in you to continue to serve the nation in the right spirit and to the best of your ability, to bring all the laurels to the country. All the very best.
I would be failing in my duties if I did not thank all the doctors, the physios, the trainers, who have put this difficult body together to go back on the field and be able to play. The amount of injuries that I have had in my career, I don’t know how you have managed to keep me fit, but without your special efforts, it would never have happened. The doctors have met me at weird hours. I mean I have called them from Mumbai to Chennai, Mumbai to Delhi, I mean wherever. They have just taken the next flight and left their work and families to be with me, which has allowed me to play. So a big thank you to all three of you for keeping me in good shape.
My dear friend, late Mark Mascarenhas, my first manager. We unfortunately lost him in a car accident in 2001, but he was such a well-wisher of cricket, my cricket, and especially Indian cricket. He was so passionate. He understood what it takes to represent a nation and gave me all the space to go out and express myself, and never pressurised me to do this ad or promotion or whatever the sponsors demanded. He took care of that and today I miss him, so thank you Mark for all your contribution.
My current management team, WSG, for repeating what Mark has done, because when I signed the contract I exactly told them what I want from them, and what it requires to represent me. They have done that and respected that.
Someone who has worked closely with me for 14 years is my manager, Vinod Nayudu. He is more like my family and all the sacrifices, spending time away from his family for my work, has been special, so big thank you to his family as well for giving up so much time for my work with Vinod.
In my school days, when I performed well, the media backed me a lot. They continue to do that till this morning. Thank you so much to the media for supporting and appreciating my performances. It surely had a positive effect on me. Thank you so much to all the photographers as well for those wonderfully captured moments that will stay with me for the rest of my life, so a big thank you to all the photographers.
I know my speech is getting a bit too long (crowd roars with ‘noooo’), but this is the last thing I want to say. I want to thank all the people here who have flown in from various parts of the world, and have supported me endlessly, whether I scored a 0 or a 100-plus. Your support was so dear to me and meant a lot to me. Whatever you have done for me.
I know I have met so many guys who have fasted for me, prayed for me, done so much for me. Without that life wouldn’t have been like this for me. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart, and also say that time has flown by rather quickly, but the memories you have left with me will always be with me forever and ever, especially “Sachin, Sachin” which will reverberate in my ears till I stop breathing. Thank you very much. If I have missed out on saying something, I hope you understand. Goodbye.