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Exactly one year back, on December 23, 2012, Sachin Tendulkar had announced his retirement from One-Day Internationals (ODIs). Abhishek Mukherjee writes a letter to the Indian great after exactly a year of the date.
9-A, Perry Cross Road,
Mumbai – 400050
It was inevitable. Like all greats of the world of sport, you too had to hang up your boots at some point of time. Only that it was the 50-over format this time; you had decided to continue only with the purest form in which the sport is played.
There were few records you had left intact; there were many innings (and spells) that have been etched in our memories forever; you know them all by heart, and even if you don’t, there are various places where you can look up. I am not going to bore you with all that.
This is about a question: What would India do once you would actually retire?
Now that it has been a year, I guess one can take a count on that. India has generally done a decent job (barring a home series defeat against Pakistan and the rout in the recently-concluded series in South Africa), winning the Champions Trophy, among others.
We have seen MS Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh emerge when you were still at your peak. Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir are probably not in the running for the 2015 World Cup, and Yuvraj seems to be out of contention as well.
However, things do not seem to be grim: Dhoni, arguably the best batsman in the 50-over format, is there at the helm, hungry as ever for the 2015 World Cup; his deputy, that brash, hot-headed teenager who had lifted you on his shoulders after the 2011 World Cup final, has now emerged as his captain’s nearest contender in the world as the leading batsman.
Suresh Raina is there too; the opposition has already marked out his weaknesses, but he still continues to deliver if the conditions are in his favour. Then there is Shikhar Dhawan, who has probably not heard of the word ‘fear’. There is Rohit Sharma, who has finally managed to live up to his immense promises.
All in all, the hole at the top is not as gaping as we thought it would turn out to be. True, we miss that perfect straight-drive, those outrageous hooks, or the customary upward look when the three-figure mark used to be reached. The void is there, but mostly in our hearts: Men in Blue are functioning fine.
Do not worry. Your side is in good hands. Keep following the young guns around the world, but have faith on them. They will take some time (after all, emulating you is not an easy task), but things should work out.
All is well.
A lover of the greatest sport of them all.
(Abhishek Mukherjee is a cricket historian and Senior Cricket Writer at CricketCountry. He generally looks upon life as a journey involving two components – cricket and literature – though not as disjoint elements. A passionate follower of the history of the sport with an insatiable appetite for trivia and anecdotes, he has also a steady love affair with the incredible assortment of numbers that cricket has to offer. He also thinks he can bowl decent leg-breaks in street cricket, and blogs at http://ovshake.blogspot.in. He can be followed on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ovshake42)
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