A chapter in world cricket comes to an end, the book is still to be finished though. That's how I would like to sum up Sachin Tendulkar's exit from one-day cricket. The maximum number of matches, highest number of hundreds, highest number of 50s, the first person to score 200 runs in ODIs and the maximum number of individual runs. Add to this the World Cup triumph in 2011. The man had nothing more to achieve in this format of the game, in fact, whatever he has done till date will remain untouched.
There has been a lot of talk about Sachin of late. Greatness is not only achieved by talent alone, the mind also has a role in that. The mind generates the belief that you are the best and that keeps you going. I am sure, even after 24 years, Sachin's mind still tells him that and this happens with everyone.
This inner call of 'one more game' is something one needs to deal with properly. When Sachin sat to take a call on his one-day career he had to keep aside his inner call because he was still good enough for one-dayers.
The last match he played in the 50-over format was against Pakistan and scored a 50-plus in that. He got a hundred in the last tournament he played in this format.
On his terms
So, he had every reason to believe that his struggle was only in Test cricket but was still good enough for the 50-over game! He decided to give up limited-over cricket because a Sachin Tendulkar would never like to go out on a low key from any form of the game.
When we grew up, somebody who batted well would be referred to as, 'he is playing like Bradman!' That person himself stated, 'this boy plays like me!' After such a statement, one needs any more accolades. Sachin also didn't.
Who is Sachin?
Who is Sachin Tendulkar? To me, he represented India but he batted for the entire cricketing fraternity. You will never find any cricket lover across any cricket-playing nation who doesn't like Sachin. I am confident that the India-Pakistan series will be dulled by the absence of this great champion.
I have one complaint against Sachin. He is a champion soldier for cricket and it doesn't augur well that he calls it a day sitting at home. He should have stated that he would play the first ODI of the India-Pak series and quit.
He should have given an opportunity to all of us to see him one last time on the ground, the place where he actually belongs, and bid him goodbye. I am sure he will keep that in mind when he calls it quits entirely.
One-day gone, what next? When? I think this will be the talking point from now on. I have a strong feeling that he will play 200 Test matches, one more mark which will never ever be touched.
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The writer is a former Pakistan captain