The reality of sports and life is that all good things come to an end. One might argue that the cricket-loving public of India had got used to Tendulkar not playing the shorter format, but there was still hope. But to know that one will not see him for sure is a big blow.
How this will affect Indian cricket will be known in the future, but the void will be hard to fill. If Indian cricket can find anyone with 70% of his ability and mindset, I will say Indian cricket is in safe hands.
Reading the press release, where he said he wanted to create a place for someone who would play the 2015 World Cup, is a practical view of the situation in hand. The 50-over World Cup is in Australia and India need a young and fit team to do well. To do well in those conditions the new player will need exposure, more so on bouncy pitches, and the overseas tours of South Africa, England and Australia will be crucial.
Indian cricket is in transition and the vision for 2015 in one-day cricket is very important at this stage, and the selectors should sit down and ask similar questions to all the players who they feel will not make it there. This is very important at this stage.
It was an honour to play with him. His longevity has been beyond imagination and something which will be hard to match. I first saw him in Indore at the national camp for the under-15, and although one could see the enormous talent, one did not think he would achieve so much. His greatness did not lie in being a terrific talent, but the way he used his talent to attain enormous heights. Not many young players will be born with talent, but what they can learn from him is the hunger, determination and sacrifices he made to stay at the top. He stayed rooted despite earning millions, and while being adored by most in the world, he never forgot that the game was bigger than anyone.
The turning point in his one-day career was when he started to open. It gave him the freedom to bat and that was hugely beneficial for the team.
He was not someone who trained a lot or who loved to run around the park, but when it came to sprinting for that extra run, he was as good as one could get.
The retirement has come at a time when India are about to play arch-rivals Pakistan, and one will have to wait and see the impact it has. The Pakistan bowlers will breathe a sigh of relief, as they will still prefer bowling to a newcomer than an out-of-form Tendulkar, as he has the ability to rising to the big occasion.
It has been a year of retirements. Great names like Dravid, Laxman, Ponting and now Tendulkar have gone. This is sad news but fans can still wake up with the thought that he has decided to continue in another format. As a friend and colleague, my advice is that whenever he decides to go, he should with the bat held high as he is too precious and too good.
360 Corporate Relations