At the outset let me first confess that I am as big a fan of Sachin Tendulkar as the average Indian male who follows cricket. While I have had issues with him in the past and have privately accused him of delaying his retirement for purely selfish reasons and for chasing personal records such as the 100th 100 by relegating Team India’s interests to the background, I am as big a fan of Sachin as can ever get. I also belong to the millions of Indians who used to be glued to a TV every time he stepped out on to a cricket field to bat during his glory days, I am somebody who bunked college for 5 continuous days when Sachin almost brought us victory with that wonderful knock at Chepauk against Pakistan. Therefore, this post is not something that came easily to me, and involved quite a bit of objective thinking. It is NOT to be construed as ‘Tendulkar-bashing’ which a lot of online trolls indulge in.
While it is a well known fact that Bradman scored a ‘duck’ in his last innings which went to ensure that his career batting average was 99.94 runs, most of the other renowned batsmen of their eras also ended their careers in a not-so-memorable fashion. Here’s a sample list of their scores in their last matches –
- Ricky Ponting – 4, 8
- Allan Border – 17, 42
- Steve Waugh – 40, 80
- Brian Lara – 0, 49
- Rahul Dravid – 1, 25
- Vivian Richards – 2, 60
- Sunil Gavaskar – 21, 96
It clearly goes to show that while these cricketers tended to dominate the bowling during their halcyon years, cricket, as the saying goes is a game of glorious uncertainties. No one player can ever be bigger than the game itself and the proof, as they say, lies in the pudding detailed above. None of these great batsmen could dictate their own innings in their last game, could they?
And as if it were poetic justice, Sachin Tendulkar joined this long list of illustrious batsmen with a well made 74. Had it been converted into a century, then at some level maybe, just maybe, Tendulkar would have managed to outwit most of the above mentioned greats and elevate himself to yet another plane, but in typical Tendulkar fashion, he probably managed to underplay his contributions to Indian cricket, even on his way out.
Thank you Sachin, for all the wonderful memories, for always remaining an inspiration for all of us who have observed your career and the way you carried yourself, from the sidelines.