He will not take guard in an international game again, but Sachin Tendulkar and cricket will remain inseparable. As the nation speculates on his future, he declared that post-retirement too he would be part of cricket.
“Cricket is oxygen to me. Out of the 40 years of my life, I have spent 30 playing cricket; 75 per cent of my life has been cricket.
My association with the sport will continue, maybe not immediately, but in the near future,” Tendulkar said on Sunday, addressing a packed press conference on his retirement.
It was only 24 hours since his retirement, so he wasn’t sure in what capacity he would return to the game. For starters, Arjun Tendulkar will have a full-time coach. Don’t be surprised to see Sachin zooming from one maidan to another, driving Arjun to play different games in a day. That was a common sight during his cricket education when coach Ramakant Achrekar used to take him from one corner of Mumbai to another on his scooter.
Read: Sachin hopes to live his dream through Arjun’s career
“For 24 years to play for the country, that is the biggest thing for me. During those years, there were different challenges but the desire to play for the country was so strong I had to find solutions to them. During that journey, I had the support of the family, coaches, friends, players - a lot of people were with me. But last night when I sat back and thought about it…till now it has not sunk in that I won’t play cricket again. I will go somewhere and play some cricket,” he said.
Read: Still hasn't hit me that I won't play anymore, says Sachin
THE 22 YARDS
The lasting memory of Tendulkar bidding adieu will be his walk to the centre square, where he bent and touched the Wankhede wicket in thanksgiving and respect, tears rolling down his cheek. “The wicket is like my temple. Whatever I have achieved in life, it’s done between those 22 yards.
“I said earlier that when I went to the pitch and stood in those 22 yards, I realised this was the last time I was standing in that place, in front of a packed stadium as a part of the Indian team. This will never happen again. I got emotional and couldn’t control my tears.”
The swell of emotion at his farewell was something that had never been experienced by the world’s cricketing fraternity. Tendulkar strode cricket like a colossus and his home crowd did him proud by giving a send-off befitting his farewell.
“These are things no one can plan for. It is something which is decided by god. I have been very fortunate to get this kind of love from the public, cannot ask for anything more from god,” he said, switching to Marathi.
“There have been many wonderful moments. You guys might have noticed that I could not look up while shaking hands with my teammates and the West Indies players. I didn’t want to be rude, but I didn’t want anyone to see my face, with me in tears. In spite of all this, I know the decision (to retire) I took was correct.”
THE FIRST DAY
Sunday was the first morning he woke up as a retired cricketer. He said it is yet to sink in, and that it will take some time to get used to a relaxed routine.
“This morning I woke up at 6.15 — because of my body clock — and realised I don’t need to quickly have a shower and be ready for the match. I made myself a cup of tea, enjoyed a lovely breakfast with my wife. It was a relaxed morning.”