When a nation wept

A man who a nation has given constant thanks for, expressed his own gratitude, writes Rohit Brijnath in the Straits Times.

Always he was a man of runs, rarely of words, a private man locked in this most public of professions. He let others do the talking about him, but this day, for almost 24 minutes, he yanked down his well-constructed veil and spoke. In time, people will return to YouTube not just for his innings but for this speech. Tendulkar has rarely been so personal.

Time did not quite stop for the little man out in the middle, but as they had done over the years, a packed stadium and countless others watching on television held their breath, says Anand Vasu in Wisden India.

Over the years, Indians had laughed with Tendulkar when he whooped in childlike joy after picking up a wicket, had cursed fate when he was laid low by injury, celebrated when he raised his bat in glory and sighed in exasperation when he was dismissed. On Saturday, a nation wept with him as he bid farewell to the game he loved more than life itself.

Nirmal Shekar in the Hindu says happiness comes in many, many shades, and the kind that Sachin provided too has various hues.

In his NBA Hall of Fame speech in 2009, Michael Jordan called basketball his “refuge”. He said it was “where I have gone when I needed to find comfort and peace.”In the last 25 years, nowhere have I seen Sachin more ‘peaceful’ and at home and — if you are spiritually inclined, which this writer is not — truly ‘liberated’ than when he was out there in the middle, as a batsman, as a fielder, as a bowler, at the nets…

A collective tear was shed as the Little Master signed off, says Jason Burke in the Guardian.

The end of the era came at 11.46am on Saturday. There was a pause, as tens of thousands in the stadium and hundreds of millions around the nation realised that the moment they had long known was coming had finally arrived. Sachin Tendulkar, the Little Master, perhaps the world’s most adored sporting hero, had retired. Then came the cheers: “Sachin, Sachin”.

What is India without Tendulkar in the middle and what is Tendulkar without cricket, asks Meenakshi Rao in the Daily Pioneer.

To limit Tendulkar’s wonderment to just his mindboggling longevity would be criminal. For he is no ordinary sportsperson, he is a novel phenomenon, an apostle of impossible achievements and a saint of gentle aggrandisement.

The Indian Express‘ Bharat Sunderesan hunts down Anil Gurav, who was a batting sensation in Mumbai before Tendulkar’s arrival, and one who Tendulkar admired. Today Gurav lives in a tiny room, haunted by memories of the game and of harrassment by the police, and struggles with an alcohol problem.

Talking about the time he lent Sachin his bat, Gurav says: “I was his captain at Sassanian (the cricket club). He wanted to use my bat but was too shy to ask me directly. The request came through Ramesh Parab (now the international scorer at Wankhede), and I told Sachin he could use it provided he made a big score. He said, ‘I will sir’, and went on to score a century with my SG bat,” he says.”Sachin was always special. He had all the shots and a great temperament. He also was blessed in a way, everything happened at the right time for him. Most importantly, he had a great background,” says Gurav. “Background is everything,” he adds, after a pause.

Article Source : Espncricinfo

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