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Why Sachin Tendulkar should retire?

I was a cricket fan first and then a girl. Although when we, cousins played together – I got three chances to be called ‘out’ completely and still prefer that arrangement. Sachin Tendulkar is my hero. He is the sole reason for me to watch cricket, enjoy it and understand too.

When I was 7 years old, an India-Australia match was being telecast live. It was dinner time for my dad and he liked eating in front of the TV. It was a Saturday and since 3 in the afternoon, while my mom was watching Swabhimaan on DD, I wished the match would start soon. Now it was 9 at night and I was completing my Maths homework.

Green grass, our men in a light blue jersey, loose – a bit ill-fitted, a few of them had moustaches and there was Shane Warne. He was bowling to the man whom today we refer to as God. His greatness was recognized by the likes of Donald Bradman, another legend so I read. Despite the commentary something about the noise on the field made me stop scribbling the tables and watch. Or maybe it was my mother’s “I hope aisa ek six mare Sachin ke inki vaat lag jaye.” It was a tense over, followed by a cool Pepsi ad.

“Why are people crazy about cricket, Papa?” I asked.

“Just watch the game,” he said while eating some fruits.

So I did. Every time there was a boundary hit for four runs, I felt happy. Sachin’s quick two runs made my heart skip beats. And slowly I was able to identify that there were 11 players in total on one country’s team. India lost the game for a few runs, that day. But I was very proud to be able to talk cricket now. My favourite player had to be Sachin Tendulkar.

As I became a teenager, a few glances were cast over Ganguly as he and Sachin made some awesome opening batsmen entries. But only humble Sachin in all the wonderful ads especially the ‘Roz khaao ande’ took my heart away. I remember how he later partnered with Sehwag and went on to form new alliances.

Better still, his jubilance on taking 5 wickets in a match with Nayan Mongia as the wicket keeper is still etched in my memory. From his recent wins, the T20 match while bashing Shoaib Akhtar and finally, picking up the World Cup is fresh. But the Master Blaster doesn’t hold the charm he held once.

With the media and I feel it is, only the media, waiting for his 100th hundred in One-day cricket – every match India plays is reduced to just the man with the jersey no. 10. It is not about winning the matches anymore, but how Sachin is always so close yet so far. Yes, the crowd also awaits that ton. It will sway and celebrate the day he shall achieve it. But before that moment in history arrives, can it not be about the game, the other players and am sure much more too.

It will be unfair to blame Sachin, as he never proclaims to be great. Nor does he think he is God. But he is a senior player and the youth do deserve a chance to show their caliber. And as a fan I think he should retire. Will that guarantee more wins? Maybe, not. But cynics will stop blaming.

Today I know that noise in the live telecast was shouting of hope. Hope- riding on the shoulders of this curly-haired boy. A little less than a million, we weren’t so many then, saw the shine in him and wanted to partake a part in that.

But the more than a million today want him to retire gracefully. It’s about time he bid goodbye to the One-day matches atleast. Am no one to suggest, but just a fan. A fan who never put up any posters, does not remember his runs accurately or even the Series he won his best plays in. Yet am a fan, because I can’t watch cricket if Sachin is not playing. I do not seem to care where he is playing, but more on how.

When I call for his retirement, it is not because he doesn’t have it in him anymore. For an inspiration as him, cricket is so synonymous that if he fears fading away – he never will. Family generations have grown knowing him. Yes, a Yuvi and a Mahi came and stole our hearts too – but this is Sachin Tendulkar. Simply put, the Best.

It is irritating to hear that Sachin is not a match-winner and pull out the stats. We know his background story, his passion, his ambition and his smile. Yet what nobody tells us is why does he feel the need to still continue? Love for the game? But he is there as the captain for Mumbai Indians and in Test matches too. So he is stuck to the game, then why? What is it, Sachin?

Please do not make the God in you fade in the oblivion of records. Indian cricket needs you, and yet Indian cricket wants you to turn around now. It’s time!

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