Sometimes you hear a loud noise from a group of people on the streets yet see no commotion there. You see these groups almost at every corner of every city and every state in the country. You try to investigate, you move closer to them. They keep shouting in a harmonious unison. There you see the people, from multifarious backgrounds, huddled with one another, glued to the television sets of any random shop generously switched on for the public. Then you know what is being broadcast on the television. It’s definitely a cricket match with India as one of the teams.
Cricket is a religion bigger than any other in India. It is cricket which binds people together more strongly than any other adhesive. If a match is in process, the television showing it makes the impossible, possible. Everyone rejoices with everyone else whenever the batsman hits a boundary or the bowler takes a stump off the ground. There is a rhythmic rise and fall in the pitch of the voices, along with every ball on the actual pitch. They repeat the same process until the match ends. The people from all walks of life stand united, unperturbed by the worldly boundaries of the rich and poor, undivided by the brutal caste-divide, in front of a common television and enjoy the matches.
Now in this religion too, there is some bias; some inevitable partiality. Some people have it in them already to be worshiped more than others; to be remembered in bad times, more than others. Among this more preferred lot, again there is a rare breed. These are the perfect people. These are the supermen. Mr. Sachin R. Tendulkar belongs to this rare breed. He is the God. He’s special for sure and very talented too. He’s an exceptionally gifted sportstar, with a never-dying spirit to reach greater heights. He has an unbeaten record, an unparalleled patience level, and unrivaled sportsmanship. In 20 years of his excellent cricketing career, he has time and again proved his critics wrong. His passion for cricket and his hardwork make him go places where his fellow mates can only think of reaching. He is in no league. Rather, he’s a league where players want to be.
All said and done about Sachin and with due respect to him, there’s just another question now – for how long? This is the approach taken up by his critics. No player has been on the field for such a long period. That, plus his current form, is sure to arouse envy. After his 100th hundred, the century of all centuries, the critics have started boiling up again. The reason they put across is that being such a senior player, it should be his responsibility to retire. But why is that even necessary now?
As long as he’s contributing to the game, why should he be bothered about retiring? If he makes a few centuries more, helps India win some more trophies and extends his records and makes it even more difficult for any other mortal to achieve that, what is the problem? Why is there such a fuss about his retirement? If you need to create vacancies in the team, there are a lot of other options too. Yes, Tendulkar is the most senior player and all of his same-aged colleagues have retired long back, but then, it was their choice. They realized they were not able to hit the ball that hard or run between the wickets that fast and hence they retired. Now, Sachin Tendulkar is one of the fastest runners between the wickets and is one of the hardest hitters of the ball. He has the ability to do it even at this age, so why ask him to be gracious enough to let India lose out on a gem? Why act as an impediment for such an impeccable team player? Agreed that Sachin wasted many balls in order to retain his wicket in the match against Bangladesh, where he hit his hundredth hundred, but what’s the big deal in that? He played his own game, and did he disappoint India after his innings? Didn’t he field well? Didn’t he act as a true sportsman when his team lost the match? He has always been a world-class team player who supports his team evenly in both good and bad times. So why put this great man under unnecessary pressure?
If he retires, not only India but also the whole cricketing fraternity will lose out on an absolute gem. He will, and should, retire only when he feels he is a burden on the team, when he’s losing out on his talent, and there are better people out there missing out from the playing eleven for him. According to the critics, these things are just about to happen. But Sachin has never, even slightly, shown such a symptom. To hold their patience and wait for the symptoms is what they need to do. So when the critics are busy pin-pointing his faults and flaws, the God is busy creating history.
Sit back, grab some popcorn and see God playing his heart out in the game that we call cricket.