I am a bit emotional. I want to write about a habit, which I developed when I was five and what follows, are from my heart. No backspaces, no editions, it’s purely my emotions.
Sachin, you are a habit, for almost twenty-one years and when you announced that 200th test match would be your last. I cannot digest that. In fact, I wish to time travel back, so that I can keep watching you play, forever. But I am neither a scientist, nor a son of a millionaire, to time travel and, as I feared, the day has arrived. In short, these were my last days with a sport called cricket, because without you, cricket is void.
Have you ever know that somewhere down in the south, a little boy named Sarav admires you a lot for whatever you were and you are? You may not be, but somehow I want to tell you that you mean a lot to me. You are one of the reasons, for which I smile happily. In fact, you gave me a thousand reasons to smile. In my childhood days, whenever I saw you hitting a six, four, even a single, I smiled. I felt like that I myself have achieved something. I believed in prayers because of you and, whenever I watched you on black and white screen (Solitaire TV), I sat in the same place until you complete a hundred and switch off the TV, when you get out. I loved you more than I did the sport and I think that back-to-back hundreds in Sharjah did that.
You are my source of inspiration. The fighting spirit, the never give-up attitude, and the way you handled pressure in each of your games, the way you answered (silenced) your critics, man you are awesome. I learned everything from you, otherwise I may not be writing this post. If I am not wrong, when I was in eleventh standard (2002-2003), people criticized you for scoring 0, 0, 8 and 0 in Tests, and you were asked to bat at two down the order in ODI’s. Almost all my friends mocked me saying that’s the end of Sachin, but deep inside my heart, I know that you will rise like a phoenix and, you did that in 2003 World Cup. Man, what a series it was! Be it the upper cut to six of Shoaib’s, or the one you sent outside Kingsmead of Caddick, you are truly an entertainer. You showed that you are the best batsmen in the world. But I did not know that World Cup meant a lot to you. I felt sad when India was thrashed by Australia in the finals.
The way you fought with your body, that tennis elbow in 2004, then the shoulder operation that question your longevity, the 2007 World Cup dismay, that permanently cracked bone in your toe…ah, you are a human being too, but you showed that you are world no.1 batsman by returning to form in 2007, though dismissed seven times between 90 and 100, including three times at 99, and your lovable critics said that you struggle to cope with nerves in nineties and you may not score a hundred, but then you again silenced them with fantastic knocks in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
Thereafter, you broke all batting records in the history of cricket. That 103* in the fourth innings against England resulting in win, was like a medicine for the injury caused in the Chennai Test against Pakistan, when you made 136 with severe back pain and was out 17 runs short of the target, the rest collapsed for five runs resulting in loss of the match. The 163* against New Zealand, the 138 against West Indies, that 175 against Australia, the four consecutive hundreds in tests, and that double hundred against South Africa. You are truly master class.
And that World Cup, for which you waited for 22 long years, attained nirvana when you took in your hands. Although you are the top run scorer for India, which includes two centuries, still critics said that whenever Sachin scores a century, India loses. Dear God, everybody knows Sachin sells, the word Sachin will always get into limelight, and that’s the pretty much the reason.
“Winning the World Cup is the proudest moment of my life. … I couldn’t control my tears of joy.” I remember each and every word said by you. Everything went well, but that devilish 100th hundred, spoiled you. Maybe, the media added the fuel and for the critics, it was icing on the cake. Some claimed it to be Don’s ghost, but you again proved them wrong. Hundredth Hundred, although humanly impossible, still you made it possible, leaving behind those 27 ninety plus scores.
“Dream and chase your dreams, dreams do come true. I had to wait for 22 years for India to win the World Cup.” My childhood, my adulthood, and even now, I get inspired by your words…and whenever I hear the name Sachin, I smile happily.
Then the countdown started. First, it was ODI on a not so good day in Indian History, next was IPL after winning the maiden cup, and finally, you announced that 200th test match would be your last test match. And that day approached sooner than I imagined in the widest of my dreams.
For one final time, time stopped in India, students’ mass bunked in schools and colleges, production went down in offices, KFC’s and MCD’s sold out, Sports and news channels TRP rate went high, social networks saluted, write-ups on blogs, newspapers reserved first eight columns, and the whole universe gathered in Mumbai to see God play his final test match. You made everyone proud raising your bat, and I smiled happily, but then when Sammy caught you in slips, the whole universe went silent, and so I…in tears, at half-past-ten in the night, I wrote this thousand-worded post to thank you!
#ThankYouSachin you are a habit!