December 23, 2012.
Sachin Tendulkar announced his retirement from One Day International cricket.
Co-incidentally the day a team was being picked for the upcoming home series against arch-rivals Pakistan.
Just wondering about the timing of the retirement announcement. Did he jump or Was he pushed? If the latter case is true then it would be a sad end.
I belong to the camp which believes that he should have retired after the 2011 World Cup. And this decision was delayed. Still the retirement makes me a little sad (though the first feeling on hearing the news was only ODIs!). After all even I was an SRT fanboy once and probably would be forever.. Nonetheless the manner of the end shouldn't tarnish his career. And it has been statistically the greatest career ever.
463 Matches, 18,426 runs, 49 centuries at an average of 44.83. Sometimes sheer numbers are enough to convey the magnitude of a player's achievements. And just to add an icing to the cake add 154 wickets as well.
This post is an attempt to recall top of the mind, the ten greatest SRT ODI moments, as I remember them.
1. 134 vs Australia, Sharjah, 1998, in the final of one of the many Coca-Cola Cups played that year. Incidentally on his birthday and coming on the back of the another brilliant 143 in the previous game against the same opponents, which took India to the final.
2. 175 vs Australia, Hyderabad, 2009 in a lost cause. A really heart-breaking game for any fan. Sachin scores 175 and yet India fall just short of Australia's 350+ target.
3. Hero Cup semi-final against South Africa. Taking responsibility to bowl when even Kapil Dev was reluctant to.
4. 98 vs Pakistan , 2003 World Cup at Centurion. Especially that upper cut six off Akhtar.
5. Mcgrath attack, 2000, ICC knock out, Nairobi. Provided the perfect start to a match which will be later remembered for being the 1st innings of Yuvraj Singh, Zaheer's yorker to dismiss Steve Waugh and Venkatesh Prasad hitting the last ball of the Indian innings for a six.
6. That six off Caddick, India vs England, World Cup 2003.
7. The ODI double century vs South Africa, Gwalior, 2010, coiniciding with my 1st ever chopper ride.
8. The dismantling off Henry Olonga, Sharjah, 1998. Another of the Coca Cola trophies in Sharjah in 1998. Olonga had the audacity to dismiss SRT off a bouncer in the league game. The final was a different story altogether as Sachin and India cruised to the title against a then quite strong Zimbabwe.
10. The perfect swansong which could have been. The world cup victory at Wankhede, 2011.
And many many more over the past 23 years.
Goodbye, Mr. Tendulkar. Thank you for all the entertainment and the memories.