Open Letter to Sachin Tendulkar


By Malay Vyas

Dear Tendulkar,

A couple of weeks ago, a Texans player played with a bloody nose in a football game at Reliant Stadium but a few thousand cricket fans living in Houston remember the original bloody nose. We remembered you from the time you bled on Doordarshan. I had a black & white TV, so the blood actually appeared to be a dark spot on your white shirt. I believe this was in 1989, at Sialkot, playing Pakistan in your first test series. Waqar Younis’s bouncer hit your nose, you fell, you got up and hit the next ball for four. Even in the grainy reception from a terrace mounted antennae, your determination was easy to see. You were no ordinary sixteen year old. A few days later, in an unofficial limited overs game, you smote Abdul Qadir for 28 runs in an over, scoring 53 off 18 in a losing cause but you had arrived.

You recently announced a watershed event in history of Indian sports, your retirement. An announcement that replaced discussions over the US government shut down in South Asian households. An announcement that overshadowed the cyclone in Orissa or the 2014 general elections. No one even murmured about India’s 72 run loss to Australia in the first ODI of the on going series. Everyone was left to think of life after Sachin. There is a generation of us adoring fans who grew up with you. Along came the “god of the off-side”, Saurav Ganguly; “the wall” Rahul Dravid and the “Very Very Special” Laxman but you, my friend, are you. Your batting was what made youngsters dream, your wicket was stuff that nightmares were made off. The game virtually ended when you were back in the pavilion.

80% of Indians believe in 33,000 gods but 100% Indians believe in you. If we follow Cricket as a religion, you are the “god”. There’s no one else who deserves to wear the number 10 jersey in cricket but you… there’s Pele in Soccer and there’s you in Cricket. We were not surprised when Bradman thought that you reminded him of his days. From your first century at Perth, yes, that fighting 114 in a losing cause to your final over in Hero Cup semifinals, to your back to back tons in Sharjah to knock Australia over and your century against Kenya in 1999 Worldcup after your father’s demise, each ball, each stroke has been special. Your methodical demolition of Shane Warne and your way of counter-attacking fearsome fast bowlers from across the border was a shot in the arm for the Indian Cricket fan. You cannot imagine the pride we felt seeing you on the cover of the Time magazine.

If the 1990’s saw you rub shoulders with legends like Kapil Dev (yes, the Boost commercial on TV), the 2000’s saw you mentoring the younger cricketers.  For us, the 2003 World Cup was won when we beat Pakistan at Centurion, more importantly ‘that’ six over point off Shoaib Akhtar’s 100 mile per hour delivery on your way to 94. Your guiding light in the two finals of the 2007/2008 CAB Series finals against the might Australians led us to believe after the disappointment of the 2007 World Cup. And the dream came true in 2011. The World Cup was for you.

We’ve seen you struggle in the last few years but hope is one thing we cant let go off when we see you come out to bat. After November, you will be missing from the Indian team line up, a strange phenomenon seen first time in 24 years. Some believe that BCCI has staged the West and some think that you should have retired earlier but then Cricket in India can be played a billion ways.

Life will not be the same but you will be at the forefront of sporting thoughts sometimes appearing verbally when a south Asian parent shouts out “Come on Sachin” to their kid at bat on a baseball field. Your straight drive will still be remembered as smooth as silk and that flick to midwicket off quickies like Akram, Donald or Gough will still ring out in the cricket world. Mr. Tendulkar, we wont be sad when you are gone but we will smile because you “happened” to the cricket world.

All the best for the years to come.