Twitter now featuring selfies of Indian desk workers who wish to show that they are watching cricket on their computer monitors.
Now only humans will play cricket, say fans with banners #salaamsachin
Chris Gayle @henrygayle
Was absolutely a pleasure being apart of history Sachin Tendulkar 200 Test Match. #legends #Lara… instagram.com/p/gxMsp-IeYo/
If you have to rob a bank, murder someone, orchestrate a scam, do it today. No one will bother. Everyone’s watching Sachin. #ThankYouSachin
Bat all you want maccha. Bat for four days straight. Nobody will declare.
One article I read consisted of an interview with Tendulkar’s British mother-in-law:
Annabel never has quite been able to comprehend it since Tendulkar swept into their lives in 1990 when Anjali, then a paediatrician at a Mumbai hospital, came to pick her up her mum at the airport and, while waiting, met the teenage Tendulkar, who was returning with the Indian team from his breakthrough tour of England, where he had scored the unbeaten Test-saving maiden century at Manchester which captured a nation’s imagination. But not Anjali’s apparently.
“My husband thought it heaven on earth to have a Test cricketer around and I think he was recognised by everyone in India by then – except my daughter,” Annabel says with a laugh. “We’ve come a long way!”
In his farewell speech Sachin left no doubt about the importance of his marriage and Anjali:
in 1991, I met my wife Anjali. I know she was a doctor. When we decided to make it a family, she said, you continue with your cricket and I’ll take care of the family. Without that I think I couldn’t have played so much cricket. Thank you for all that you’ve done and it is the best partnership I’ve had in my life.
Tunku Varadarajan’s NYT article on Tendulkar is more substantial, suggesting that the cricketing god’s career mirrored the glory days of the Indian economy’s relentless rise in the 90s. He doesn’t hesitate to weigh in with a healthy dose of criticism:
When he first played for India — in 1989, at age 16, against the old enemy, Pakistan — the country was adrift economically. National morale hit a nadir in 1991, with India pawning gold reserves to stay afloat. Sachin’s blossoming coincided with the economic liberalization that followed, and his cricketing splendor tracked a healthy, sometimes rollicking, growth rate. In his success, he embodied a new Indian self-image. Other heroes have since emerged: younger, brasher, like the New India itself, but Sachin’s heroism reminds the country of a more vulnerable time, and he is loved the more for that.
At the same time, there is also, remarkably, an unsentimental view of Sachin, which is that he should have retired two years ago (or more), that he has stayed at the wicket much too long.
There is no Indian tradition of graceful retirement. The inherent human vanity of an authority reluctant to cede the public stage is reinforced by a culture of adulation, of shrieking, ululating crowds, of an uncritical elevation of heroes to godlike status by devotees who will not let go. In politics, in cinema, even in corporate business houses, old Indian men do not fade into the sunset. They hobble on and on. And when they die, they are “kept alive” by heirs who succeed them: sons, daughters, wives. Sport, by its very nature, is different: there is no elegant case for heirs on a cricket team, and the body imposes its own laws of retirement.
Yet Sachin and his fans have tried their best to defy those natural laws. After all, idolatry is an Indian art form. Some Indian gods have three heads, or 10 arms. Others have serpents coiled around their torsos, or rivers streaming from their heads. And one, Sachin, wields a sacred cricket bat, heavy, sweet, made of the finest willow.
I don’t know about you but I’d say the tradition of graceful retirement is completely missing in the Caribbean as well where our local giants linger on into their dotage, unwilling to ride off into the sunset when their time comes. In this context Shashi Tharoor’s BBC article on Sachin’s retirement made an interesting claim:
A weak, insecure nation needs sporting heroes, players larger than life on the cricketing field, who can transcend the limitations of their country and team.
Tendulkar was the diminutive colossus who showed his countrymen that an Indian, too, could be the world’s best. He was elevated to God in the country’s cricketing pantheon.
But the confident India of 2013, with a stronger economy that carries more weight in the world, an India wooed and courted by global leaders, doesn’t need a God to project its capabilities. Mere mortals are good enough to win when winning comes naturally.
Here is Sachin walking into Wankhede Stadium on the 2nd day of his final test match: