November 16, 2013: The end of the Sachin Tendulkar era

first_imgNovember 16, 2013: Bright sunshine and near-stifling heat greeted the thousands who had congregated to Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium. Millions around India switched on their television sets with heavy hearts.West Indies, at 43/3, were on the verge of their second straight innings defeat in the final Test of the two-match series. In a sense, there was plenty to rejoice for Indian cricket fans. Rohit Sharma had announced his arrival in Test cricket with hundreds in his first two matches while Mohammed Shami had made an immediate impact in the traditional format.But not a soul present in the Wankhede stands, not a single member of the large TV audience that Saturday was remotely concerned with the result. An Indian victory was a foregone conclusion but the last wicket would also mean the end of Sachin Tendulkar’s international career.BCCI PhotoExactly 24 years after his fabled debut in Pakistan, the Master Blaster had decided to walk away from the game that had brought him the adulation and admiration from kings, presidents and ambassadors.There was an outpouring of emotions across the country for well over a month after Tendulkar had announced his retirement in October. A two-Test series against West Indies was hastily organised and Tendulkar bowed out in front of his home-fans in Mumbai.Sourav Ganguly, Tendulkar’s friend of many years, captain and India team-mate had ensured a warm send-off in Kolkata. Eden Gardens belonged to Tendulkar for those three days. It looked like the whole city had turned up to watch the master weave his magic one final time.advertisementBut it was really in Mumbai where a capacity crowd saw Tendulkar unleash some of those textbook drives. He faced 118 balls, hit 12 boundaries and scored 74. In the 150 minutes he spent at the crease in his final innings, there was hope of a farewell hundred.BCCI PhotoThere was stunned silence when Tendulkar edged Narsingh Deonarine and Darren Sammy held on to a smart catch at slip and then refused to celebrate. That was a mark of honour to the greatest batsman that ever played the game.The shocked Wankhede crowd finally rose to their feet and applauded the Little Master as he walked up the steps back to the dressing room. In those final moments, it was almost easy to forget that Tendulkar had played an unprecedented 200 Test matches. Throw in those 100 international hundreds and you would have a perfect career.Then on November 16, once the ninth West Indies wicket went down, MS Dhoni got his troops around as Tendulkar walked back to take his fielding position.BCCI PhotoAnd when India had wrapped up victory, Tendulkar was given a grand guard of honour. The legend was in tears as his team-mates kept the guard up until he had reached the dressing-room.Tendulkar’s farewell speech that followed left an entire country in tears and when he walked back to pay his respects to the Wankhede pitch, the shutterbugs went wild.BCCI PhotoThe Sachin Tendulkar era had come to an end. No more would he play for India.last_img

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *