Sachin's retirement was very much similar to the Cyclone Phailin that is close to the Indian east coast at the time of writing this article. Many knew the situation but no one knew the exact timing and what the impact is going to be. Though some might argue that comparing SRT to the cyclone is not a good one, the manner in which the legend batted throughout the career, the opposition had to inevitably feel as though a cyclone had indeed hit them!
There are millions of articles and blog-posts on Sachin and I don't have anything new to add. Hence, I will share my thoughts on how he has affected me during his career.
Yes, I did see the charity match when he smote Abdul Qadir for those sixes with his captain Srikkanth at the other end. I thought then who this lad was (he is the same age as mine) who is trying to show off to the non-striker. Little did I know.
I did watch him being hit by Waqar Younis and then for a moment felt that the selectors had made a mistake of selecting him so early! Little did I know.
I then watched him smack Shane Warne on his debut test along with Ravi Shastri. I thought here is a guy who is making good use of the average spinners that opposition try to produce. So Little did I know.
When I saw him tear apart the South Africans on their soil, I stopped doubting. This was a man no ordinary. He was beyond the ones that I had seen in my lifetime and the next five-ten years were absolute vintage for someone who was closely following the fortunes of the Indian team. The next distinct memory is that of Desert Sandstorm when he hit those two centuries back-to-back against the champion Aussies. This was also at a stage when the Indian team were losing many but Sachin still produced such gems that shone through. I can go on and on but you get the gist.
Couple of decades passed and then he started failing (in relative terms). Gone were the centuries and you could see the Master struggle (just like the tennis Master Roger Federer, another favorite of mine, is going through these days). I wondered why he continued.
Then, came the 175 against Australia in a losing cause. He showed again how little did I know! It was now, payback time for Sachin. His team(s) started winning tournaments. World Cup 2011, Champions League T20 (though he was not part of the time during the first win), IPL.
He had in the process finished what Sunil Gavaskar had instructed him to do - 100 centuries. What else was remaining? Where was his hunger? What would he do next? Is there any point at all for him to get up in the morning and go to practice (when he did not have any further targets)? How little did I know.
Only those who have remained for long at that level and status can answer the questions that came to my mind. As far as me, I could only speculate and fail!
Now that Sachin has retired, will he still remain associated with cricket? It looks likely (associated with Mumbai Indians at least) but I still know little. Do you know more?