Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar played his last innings at the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai on November 17, 2013, the ground where he started his international cricketing journey 24 years ago. Tens of thousands of people inside the stadium and a population of a billion plus outside had mixed emotions as their “Cricket God” played his last match.
Showkat Shafi spoke to a cross-section of Indians to find out what Tendulkar’s achievements and and retirement meant to them.
|Jai Bhagwan, 65, mattress maker|
|Jai Bhagwan [Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera]|
God sent a gift to the Indian cricket in form of Sachin Tendulkar. We will never have anybody like him.
There is nobody like Sachin and nobody can ever be like him. If the Indian team will be fortunate enough to even get two players half his caliber then we will never lose a match.
His retirement is a big blow to every Indian. We have had great players but nobody like him.
|Bhoomika Verma, 21, student|
|Bhoomika Verma [Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera]|
To me, cricket has always meant Sachin. He is a tremendous player and will always be that for me… his retirement is a nightmare for all his fans, but we cannot change this fact and we need to accept it as soon as possible.
The biggest grief is that I couldn’t get a chance to see him live and will never get that chance again.
In the end, its his own decision we cannot change it but I wish him good luck for his future.
|Aditya Chauhan, 23, production assistant|
|Aditya Chauhan [Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera]|
Sachin Tendulkar is not just a simple human like all of us. People call him “the God of Cricket” and it’s very true – because of his infinite achievements and the amount of happiness and joy he has provided to a country which is divided on basis of color, caste, religion, status, and etc.
For 24 years he has carried the burden of our expectations but now it is the time when Master has decided to hang his boots and cricket will not be the same again, as some say “if cricket is religion, then Sachin is God” and God is retiring so it will surely leave some effect on its worshippers.
In India, Sachin doesn’t mean cricket, but in fact cricket means Sachin.
|Ravi Kumar Yadav, 20, labourer|
|Ravi Kumar Yadav [Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera]|
I have played cricket as a child and my hero used to be Sachin Tendulkar. It has always been my dream to watch him play in a stadium but now I won’t be able to.
I am his big fan and I am going to miss listening to his name when I hear cricket matches on the radio. He was God of the Indian cricket team.
Hope we will get someone as great as Sachin in our team.
|Gurbachan Singh, 78, entrepreneur|
|Gurbachan Singh [Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera]|
I have seen cricket ever since International cricket started and I must say that his popularity is just hype. There have been so many players who were much better batsmen than Sachin. Last few years his form has not been that great but he still retained his position in the Indian cricket team whereas there were so many great players who were forced to leave the moment they would lose form.
I agree he is a good player but it’s not as if the Indian cricket will die in his absence.
I can think of better players in the current Indian team.
|Dewan Chand, 57, sanitation worker|
|Dewan Chand [Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera]|
I rarely watch cricket but when Sachin comes to the ground to bat I ensure that I watch the innings.
I love the way he plays and how the crowd gets excited when he comes to bat. There have been situations when we lose wickets early and we know that till the time Sachin in around there are chances that we will pull through and win the match.
For cricket lovers he is God!
|Majid Pandit, 31, communications professional|
|Majid Pandit [Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera]|
Sachin Tendulkar has to be one of those milestones left by the greats defining the evolution of Cricket.
Hats off to this icon who gave us the best display of sport throughout his tenure facing the furry of Imran Khan, Glen McGrath, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Muttiah Muralidharan, Alan Donald and Courtney Walsh among others.
He has taken the game to a new level by setting up the highest standards for the times to come.
Sachin has done a great service to the future of the game.
|Priti Singh, 22, student|
|Priti Singh [Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera]|
Without Sachin Tendulkar, cricket is going to be incomplete for me. It has always been wonderful watching him play.
Nevertheless, he has all credentials in his hand and has given new dimensions to this game. He is a legendary player and is undoubtedly the “God of Cricket”.
But one of my wishes was to watch him play live. I am going to miss him badly…all the very best Sachin!