That says it all doesn't it. For a nation crazy about a game, for me it was this young lad all of 15, 23 years ago that made me crazy abt the game.
I never realised when his feats reflected what I wanted to become. His trials and triumphs on the field often mirrored my strides in my world. And yet, at 37, with over 20 Years of my career still to go, it's difficult to see my hero walk off into the sunset … Admist a din of noise, but with his head held high.Will cricket be the same again for me.. Of course not. Did I really follow cricket, or did I follow the original Master Blaster? The next year will answer a lot of questions. A sport over a hero… A hero over a sport. But that is the fallacy of sport isn't it. A Kapil Dev followed a Sunil Gavaskar. A Sachin followed a Kapil … A Maradona followed a Pele.,and a Messi followed a Beckham.Sport fuels heroes. Heroes in turn fuel the passion of sport amongst fans. Sachin fuelled my passion for cricket for 23 years. What Sachin also did, was help me defend cricket through the whole wave of cynicism from match fixing to test cricket dying to the perils of 20-20. The next year will see me looking at cricket and its administrators with a far more cynical and maybe practical view of the game and its administration. Maybe, veer away from cricket towards a shorter sport, much like the youth of India who know Messi's and Rooney's stats better than Virat's or MSD's.
And as India gets used to seeing a new man in blue without an oversized helmet and pads open the innings, I will hopefully get used to not getting calls from my Dad saying how the mighty fell to a mortal.
Bye bye Sachin , and thank you for teaching me to be a true sport.