Sachin Tendulkar celebrates his birthday today. As he enters his 40th year (born on 24 April 1973), there are growing questions in the minds millions of his fans:
How long will the maestro continue playing for the country?
Will he play the 2015 World Cup?
Will he get the Bharat Ratna?
Will he score a Test triple hundred?
Will he play alongside his son Arjun?
CricketCountry Executive Editor H Natarajan asked all those questions and more to tarot reader Shruti Chopra on behalf of Tendulkar’s fans. The answers are interesting, to put it mildly!
Excerpts from an interview:
H Natarajan (HN): Let me first ask you the one answer just about every cricket fan in India wants to know – How long will Sachin Tendulkar continue playing at the highest level?
Shruti Chopra (SC): With the Page of Swords and the Ten of Wands coming up, it shows that although he is constantly burdened with this question from those around him (media and public). But let me tell you, he is just not interested in retiring! He wants to just play freely and enjoy his game. The time frame of his retirement is not showing up in the cards because it seems to be quite in the future. One thing that does come up is that Sachin may decide to retire from Test matches before One-Day Internationals.
HN: That’s indeed surprising as one would have expected him to retire from ODIs to prolong his Test career. Can your cards tell us if Sachin Tendulkar will play the 2015 World Cup?
SC: Sachin would love to be a part of the next World Cup, but he does carry obvious doubts if his body will hold up or whether he will do justice to his place. Despite this, with the Knight of Wands gracing him, he has the ability to keep himself motivated – which doesn't take much of an effort; it comes naturally to him. His family is like his Chariot; they keep him strong and encourage him to achieve his goals.
After much deliberation and with the Four of Cups handing this opportunity to Sachin; he will be excited to play the World Cup and would do so. With the Queen of Pentacles in Sachin's cards, he should be encouraged to score freely and achieve success in this tournament.
HN: What keeps Sachin Tendulkar going after achieving so much in his career? Can the cards give an answer to that?
SC: Sachin sees every match, every innings as a new challenge. He is currently not interested in looking back to see what he has achieved, instead he's motivated by the possibilities out there. The High Priestess reveals that there are hidden potentials yet to be tapped and that's what excites him. More importantly, he genuinely just loves what he does and that feeds his enthusiasm. With the Ten of Wands showing up, he does feel over-burdened with responsibilities at times – meeting expectations is tiring for him, whereas he just wants to play without being judged, which he understands is not possible. His desire to explore the game keeps him going.
HN: Will Sachin Tendulkar score a triple hundred in Tests? If so, by when?
SC: Sachin will have to work very hard to achieve this milestone. With the the Five of Swords creeping up, it will be a tough battle mentally and on the field. He is looking strong willed and should be able to achieve it, but this will come through a solid batting partnership where his partner will also achieve an important milestone. This looks possible in early 2013.
HN: Will Sachin Tendulkar continue to play the Indian Premier League (IPL) after retiring from international cricket?
SC: Sachin won't let go off the IPL so easily! He would like to continue and will do so. The Lovers and Chariot cards all show his determination of wanting to play, which he will enjoy and receive success from it. His team mates will value his continuing presence and support. His family and franchise wouldn't want him to leave either, so with all this backing, he will gain more energy to keep going.
HN: Will Sachin Tendulkar be used as a coach/mentor for Team India after retirement? What does his post-retirement life look like?
SC: Sachin will joyfully start off his retirement, spending time with family. However, he certainly won't be able to retire from the game completely. He would like to remain committed to Indian cricket, providing the system with more substance.
There are a few options he will work on, which will include, coaching/mentoring some state teams and working with children. The Two of Cups and the King of Wands signals a strong possibility that he may even open up a coaching academy in partnership. Sachin will adapt his skills well with what is required and what he can offer. He is ready to pull all his resources together to give back to cricket. You won't find him sitting idle for too long.
HN: Will Sachin Tendulkar get the Bharat Ratna?
SC: Yes, he will! There is nothing to suggest that he will not receive the Bharat Ratna. In fact, the Seven of Wands, Two of Cups and the Strength card all reaffirm what he has achieved in his career and this will be rewarded by receiving the Highest civilian honour in India.
HN: Will Sachin Tendulkar's son Arjun play for India? If so, will he play alongside his father?
SC: Arjun is being represented by the cards as the Sun – a new refreshing energy and talent. He has all the ingredients to play for India and be a successful player. He does come in with the pressure of being Sachin's son. And initial expectations will scare him, but he also has the ability to overcome this and make his own mark by not allowing such pressures to hinder his potential.
The possibilities of Sachin and Arjun playing together do show up! The Devil and the Four of Wands hint that it could even be at an event like the IPL. Their association will grow beyond the father-son relationship – Sachin will play an important factor in Arjun's career, more so as a coach and mentor.
(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)