It's not easy being in the master's shoes
The stadium has been his domain and he has been the master of the game for 23 long years. He holds a whole era on his back and humility in his heart. Being in his shoes is beyond the realms of what we believe is possible, but I’d like to imagine.
Think how he feels when he hears the stadium echoing with ‘Sachin! Sachin!’ as he walks in from the pavilion. Think how he feels when he hits a century and looks at the heavens. Think how he feels when he reads about his accolades in the newspapers, on internet and everywhere. If he gave us goosebumps when he, brimming with passion, lifted the World Cop trophy, think how happy he would have felt himself.
It is overwhelming. And scary. What’s scarier is what’s happening with him these days. Cricket still flows in his veins, the stadium still echoes as they hail him, but it’s not the same. The ball rather than his bat, hits the stumps. And then, rather than looking at the sky in satisfaction, he has to look down in disappointment and disbelief. What goes through his mind then?
I think of being in his place – when all the good I have done is washed away by a few failures, when from a God, I transform into a demon in the eyes of people – almost overnight. We all get upset when we’re reprimanded by our boss or when our work is criticised – these little things, even at the lowest level, dishearten us.
Yes, there will come a time when he’ll have to retire. Age takes a toll on everybody. But right now, blaming him for India’s Wankhede loss or continuously pressurising him to retire is selfish on our part. Yes, selfish because we, as countrymen, ought to respect the man who personifies ‘Indian cricket.’ If he is old, it doesn’t mean that his cricketing form can’t go through a rough patch. Just because everyone retires at this age doesn’t imply that he should bid farewell to the sport as well. There might be cricket left in him.
It will be a sad day when Tendulkar calls it quits. But it will be sadder the day he does it because everyone asked him to do so. Leave the master alone. If age has affected him physically, he has the brains of a 39 year old man too. He knows what’s right for him and what’s not! God (read: Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar) has started it, and he’ll be the one to draw the curtains.