The news is the cricketing equivalent of the 1945 atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In a sensational and unexpected development that is bound to devastate Indian cricket fans, Sachin Tendulkar has decided to quit international cricket. The news is numbing as just a few days back the great man had addressed the media that he had no plans to quit in the near future.
So what caused the change of mind?
According to the maestro’s close friend Atul, who does not want his surname to be revealed, “Sachin has never felt as low as he has been in the last one year after hearing and reading the attacks on him, and especially his integrity. Everybody close to him know that the team has always meant more than his personal milestones and it hurt him that his former team mates joined a section of the fans in saying that he played for personal glory. I have never seen him so depressed all my life as he has been by these baseless comments. That is why he reacted in a very subdued manner after getting the unthinkable 100th hundred in the Asia Cup.”
Apparently, those near and dear to Tendulkar would have loved him to call it a day. They felt that if people questioned him after more than 22 years of loyal service to the nation, then it was not worth it. But they also knew that cricket was the oxygen of his very existence.
It was finally Tendulkar’s visit to his mentor from school days, Ramakant Achrekar, which helped him make the big decision.
”Achrekar Sir watches all of Sachin’s matches on TV. And he knows that Sachin is still very good and has a lot to offer the nation. But Sir too could not bear to hear all the rubbish that was spoken about Sachin. He wanted Sachin to leave before the mindless section of our society causes him further harm,” revealed Atul.
Tendulkar spent a few sleepless nights mulling over the decision before coming to the most painful decision of his life. Before the media got wind of his decision, he slipped out of his plush new home in Bandra.
India’s frontline cricket writers from leading media houses have been called to the Indian cricket board office later on Sunday where a recording of Tendulkar’s decision to retire will be played. In all likelihood there will be a tele-press conference at the end of the recorded video in which Tendulkar will be taking live questions from the select mediaperson.
Tendulkar’s whereabouts is kept a top secret. Even calls to some of his close friends in the Indian team drew a blank as they too weren’t aware. The only thing that is known as of now is that he will be arriving in Chennai by Mukesh and Nita Ambani’s private aircraft and will immediately take a helicopter – also belonging to the Mumbai Indian owners - to land directly at the MAC Chidambaram Stadium before Mumbai’s first match against Chennai Super Kings. Till then he prefers to remain incommunicado and remain focused on the big IPL opening game against Chennai.
According to information available, unprecedented security has been seen around the stadium to ensure that Tendulkar is not bothered by emotional fans and media.
At an emergency meeting of top BCCI officials, it was felt that an official request would be going to Tendulkar asking him to reconsider his decision and make himself available for a while the process of rebuilding is undertaken.
A very senior member of the BCCI said, “Rahul’s exit has left a big hole in the middle order. Sachin’s exit will leave a huge crater. We cannot allow him to go at this critical point of time. His presence is vital in the rebuilding process of Indian cricket. The president will be talk to Sachin in person and ask him to reconsider his decision in the larger interest of Indian cricket. And knowing how fierce a nationalist Sachin has been, the BCCI is optimistic that he will not let us and the country down.”
Video of Sachin Tendulkar’s decision to quit international cricket
This article was pure fiction on the occasion of April 1
(H Natarajan, formerly All India Deputy Sports Editor of the Indian Express and Senior Editor with Cricinfo/Wisden, is the Executive Editor of CricketCountry.com. A prolific writer, he has written for many of the biggest newspapers, magazines and websites all over the world. A great believer in the power of social media, he can be followed on Facebook at facebook.com/H.Natarajan and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/#!/hnatarajan)