While everyone showers much deserved praise on Sachin, and while all the television channels go absolutely berserk showing his interviews and supplementing them with popular bollywood songs like “Baar baar haan(courtesy Lagaan)”, I thought I would write my own view point on the master- the man who seems to have a personal connection with every Indian whether he is on the field or off it, the man who has for the past 20 years re defined the art of batting, the man who has given a country much deprived of heroes someone to look up to, and the man who continues to shoulder the burden of more than a 100 million people and still does an awesome job at it. Sachin Tendulkar – You are a true genius.

I am writing this on the day when there are reports of some people being upset about Sachin calling himself an Indian first and then a Marathi. The reasons for creating an issue out of Sachin’s statement are best known to these people, but the fact that this news is being run on all the television news channels tells me that they were able to do what they wanted to. And of course, in terms of numbers, the moral brigade does so much better than Sachin will ever be able to…The number of buses burnt down by them would definitely be greater than Sachin’s one day runs, the count of public property vandalization might actually exceed his test runs, and obviously the number of Sachin’s tons are no where close to the number of laws these self proclaimed protectors have broken…so yeah, obviously they understand the marathi psyche much better than Sachin does…duh!!

Crap apart, my first memories of Sachin are those of him hitting Abdul Qadir for I don’t remember how many sixes, after Mr. Qadir allegedly said that this kid can’t do much against him (he was apparently hitting the bowler at the other end as well). Champion born? Thats what I thought with the very little cricket acumen I had then…but then I wasn’t wrong, was I?

Sachin has been entertaining the cricketing world since that day. I don’t think a blog post is enough to count the number of absolutely brilliant innings he has produced in this time. Whether its the innings when he opened for India in ODIs against New Zealand for the first time, or his brilliant test hundreds on his maiden Australia tour; whether its the awesomely cool last over that he bowled in the Hero cup semis when all was lost, to the ultra majestic desert storm double whammy in Sharjah, its been one heck of a ride.

Whats so special about him that makes the entire nation smile when he is on song and also makes them cry when he gets out? Why do we not feel the same kind of emotion for someone else in the team? The answer is the charisma of Sachin, his masterful batting along with his impeccable character, his almost untouchable pureness…years of batting, of facing criticism from the idiots (read “the so called television experts”) as well as some of his peers, of public scrutiny, and of the ups and downs in his own career haven’t been able to tarnish anything in him. He is still the same, the greatest sportsman of India and still as humble as he was when he started. But what defines Sachin more than any of this is the way time comes to a standstill when he goes out to bat, the way people fold their hands, close their eyes, and pray as hard as possible so that he scores yet another hundred. My personal best has been switching the TV off and going in an empty room praying with almost tears in my eyes that Sachin leads India to victory. This is what he does to India when he bats…that’s the magic of Sachin…at least for me…

There isn’t any doubt that it will not only be difficult but almost close to impossible to replace him when he decided to quit…but until he does so, can I just make a humble request to all the self proclaimed cricket experts on the zillion TV channels – Please shut the frick up and let us enjoy…let us enjoy the cricket of the man India is proud of.

Thank you Sachin for whatever you have done for cricket in India…take a bow.

Quick update: I cannot believe that NDTV is running a campaign called “Do you agree with Sachin’s sentiments”…Why do our news channels even bother publicizing such crappy news…un-fricken-believable.

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