This seems to be the unanimous demand of a country that has just bidden a heavy hearted adieu to one of the finest batsmen to have ever walked the ODI pitch.
A bogus apocalypse prophecy apart, 2012 has been lined with one loss after the other. And just when we thought that the worst had passed, our raison d’être for watching ODIs decided to hang up his boots and retire from one day matches. We hope the gifts in your stockings fared better because Santa, this year, seems to have given the cricketing world the cold shoulder.
Around 1.2 billion of the country’s cricket fans simultaneously broke down when Sachin Tendulkar announced, “I have decided to retire from the One Day format of the game. I feel blessed to have fulfilled the dream of being part of a World Cup wining Indian team.” Though the ace batsman added that he would continue playing Test matches, it provided little consolation to a country that lives to watch him bat those thunderous sixes; for a country that now knows that the dreaded finishing line isn’t far. Letting go of him is something we’ll never quite be ready for, and the cricketing world seems to echo our sentiments:
“His greatness did not lie in being a terrific talent, but the way he used his talent to attain enormous heights. If Indian cricket can find anyone with 70% of his ability and mindset, I will say Indian cricket is in safe hands.” – Sourav Ganguly
“Emotional time! Letting Sachin go from one dayers. 18 thousand plus runs. Your jaw drops when you see those records, master you will always live." – Yuvraj Singh
"In Test cricket, Sachin may have had serious rivals in Lara, Ponting, Kallis for being the best batsman. But in ODIs, he was peerless." – Ayaz Memon
“A chapter in cricket's history has come to an end but the book is still to be finished." – Inzamam-ul-Haq
“When you bowl at him you are not just trying to get him out, you are trying to impress him. I feel privileged to have played against him.” – Andrew Flintoff
"You'll be missed a lot. Thanks a lot for whatever you have given to Indian cricket." – Ishant Sharma
“I would go to bed having nightmares of Sachin dancing down the ground and hitting me for sixes.” – Shane Warne
“Statistics NEVER lie! They tell a very true story.. Well done Sachin! What an incredible ODI career..” – Kevin Pietersen
“His service to his country and to the game of cricket is unparalleled. He's my dad's superstar, my hero and my nephew's idol. He bridged generations. When Sachin made his debut, I was five, most of his followers on Twitter were not even born. It's a miracle that till now, he had the excitement of a five-year-old on the field." – Ayushmann Khurana
While no tribute shall ever be worthy enough of this maestro, we’d like jersey no. 10 to be retired along with him. Bring it out when you find a batsman who can shoot five sixes and nine fours amidst a fiery sandstorm. When you find a player who can break Sachin’s unparalleled world record of 18,426 runs. When you find a cricketer who can make 185 consecutive ODI appearances and manage to score 49 centuries, not to mention the double hundred.
Until then, retire Jersey No. 10!