For 24 years Sachin had been India’s happiness index.
If a common man, while wading through the struggles of his daily life, smiled, it was mostly when Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar took guard for India. All that has come to an end with his retirement.
India may never find another sporting icon who singularly succeeded in making the nation forget its faults – a unifying factor of rare stature. No player, in contemporary cricket, has evoked spells of pure joy with his craft and conduct for so long – 24 years. Life, for the nation of a billion people, will go on but never be the same again.
In sports, the fear of loss does different things to different people. It spurs athletes to greater heights; for spectators, it often changes the topography of their nails. In some, it induces mild depression.
Its inevitability is creeping into the minds of even the most stoic spectators. Soon, they won’t have Roger Federer and Sachin Tendulkar around anymore. What will be the world like without Federer and Sachin? Surely, the sporting world will move on, for no athlete is bigger than the game. But will it be the same again? Maybe not. Federer brought to tennis a “complete game”, rarely seen before. What made it even surreal was the ease and elegance with which he wielded his racquet.
Doping and deception: the yellow colour of the Livestrong band will never mean the same thing again to the 80 million Lance Armstrong fans who bought it.
In cricket, and in life, a perfect end is a rarity.
His remarkably long international career, of almost 15 years, was tragically snuffed out when he was hit in the eye by a bail in a warm-up match against Somerset on July 9 during the ongoing England tour. He was only one short of 1,000 victims — an unheard of feat in the 145 years of international cricket history.