Sachin Tendulkar brought an end to his illustrious playing career of 24 years and one day during the 2013 Wankhede Test on November 16. (Photo Credit: Twitter)
Sachin Tendulkar is revered as one of the greatest cricketers to have ever played the game. In India, he was the designated god in addition to being the gold standard of batting. There are numerous tribute posts dedicated to Tendulkar every hour, every day, every week and every year. One such tribute stood out on November 16. The tribute read, "In 1989, he stepped in as a kid and 24 years later, he leaves as god." Sachin Tendulkar made his debut on November 15, 1989 against Pakistan and proceeded to change the entire course of cricketing history by his sheer artistry with the bat. 24 years and one day later, at 11:45 AM approximately, when Mohammed Shami got rid of Shannon Gabriel and India had destroyed the West Indies by an innings, it was over. Tendulkar's journey as an Indian cricketer had ended.
On the previous day, which would exactly mark 24 years of his debut, Tendulkar smashed 74 but once he was dismissed by Narsingh Deonarine thanks to a sharp catch by Darren Sammy, the silence that was prevalent at the Wankhede was an eerie sight to behold. After some time, the realisations sunk in. 200 Tests, 15921 runs. 463 ODIs, 18426 runs. The only player in history to have scored 100 international tons. The symbol of countless memories. The Desert Storm miracle against Australia, the dominance of the-then No.1 ranked side in the world. The Chepauk heartbreak of 1999 against Pakistan when he hit 136 with a bad back. Redemption nine years later to help India chase down 387 at the same venue to heal the nation after the terror attacks in his home town. Run-scoring machine par excellence. The fulfillment of a dream on April 2, 2011 when India ended 28 years of pain to finally win the World Cup that too in front of their delirious home fans.
When one looks at the contributions and the circumstances, it was no wonder that many fans the world over wept and shed tears when Tendulkar left the field for a final time. A guard of honour, the lap of honour around the venue where he made his mark and continuous cheering, it was an apt way to celebrate the end of an epoch and the arrival of a new era, something which is called 'Navyug' in Hindi. In mythological stories, we often read about how it was the beginning of a new era. On November 16, 2013, fans witnessed how the end of an era feels.
In the course of his 22-minute speech, symbolic considering he played on the 22 yards, the one quote of Tendulkar stood out which was, " 'Sachin, Sachin' will reverberate in my ears till I stop breathing." This statement summed up the deep connect Indian cricket fans had with Tendulkar. Even today, there is plenty of nostalgia about the golden days of Tendulkar's artistry. However, the hurt that was created by the void left by him has been filled up to a certain extent, mainly due to the brilliance of Virat Kohli and his batting. November 16, 2013 will forever be rememebered as the day the Tendulkar-era ended. Until the last breath, many Indian fans will forever remember this date.