Thursday will mark the final chapter in Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar’s professional cricket story. Fittingly the final destination for Sachin is his spiritual home, the Wankhede Stadium. So many people will hold different memories of him, but the everlasting image for me will be him being held aloft after the famous world cup win. Countless records have fallen to Tendulkar, too many to list.
A mark of the man’s profile is the tributes that come his way. The biggest compliment has to be from the President of The United States of America Barack Obama, who stated the following:
“I don’t know about cricket but still I watch cricket to see Sachin play. Not because I love his play [but] because I want to know the reason why my country’s production goes down by five per cent when he’s in batting”
I am not sure what is more amazing, the fact that Obama took time out to recognise his retirement or the fact that he attributes one player denting the worlds leading economy by 5%.
Cricket can now be divided into three different era’s, these being before Tendulkar, during his time and after Tendulkar. He has seen a massive change in world cricket and also Indian cricket. Through the course of his career he has seen Indian cricket rise to new heights. There had never been an Indian sports superstar before him, but because of him there will be many more.
What he has left behind is a very strong legacy, players such as Dhoni, Kohli and Rohit Sharma all grew up with him in the team. It is possible that without Tendulkar’s success these players would not have been playing the sport at all. These players in turn are inspiring children as young as age 5 and making their own legacy.
Going forward someone will have to be brought into the squad to replace one of the greatest players to have ever played the sport. I believe the batting talent is already in the squad to cover the loss of such a player. The calls will be for a batsman to come into the side, but I believe that an allrounder or extra bowler should be brought in, especially when playing at home. Kholi is a shoe in to move into the vacated number four spot, meaning Rohit Sharma can be moved up to five.
Dhoni is too good a batsman to be wasted at number seven, in my opinion he could bat in any of the top six positions with distinction. He would be my new number six. Jadeja should battle with Ashwin as to who bats at number seven. When playing abroad the selectors could be flexible for this role. If the pitch requires an extra batsman then so be it, if the extra seamer is needed then this could be an option.
The retirement of Tendulkar will be a sad day for cricket, but going forward, the future of Indian cricket seems in healthy state.