A magical Sachin Tendulkar moment: Wish time could have been frozen

Sachin Tendulkar dismissed for one last time… The brief walk back once again told a story of man who was consumed by cricket like probably no other player in the game © IANS

By Gaurav Joshi

Sitting inside an enclosed media centre and listening to music on maximum volume through the headphones the chant of “Sa-chin, Sa-chin” could still be heard even before Sachin Tendulkar entered the playing arena. Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) had opened the gates early to ensure fans were inside the stadium to watch Tendulkar walk out to resumed his his 329th and what seemed his final Test innings.

Nearly each person that entered the Wankhede Stadium kept on standing and cheered their hero to the crease. For the next 15 minutes they screamed “Sa-chin Sa-chin” continuously and refused to sit down.  Even a defensive shot was greeted with a roar.  It was once in a lifetime experience and highly unlikely India would ever experience such an atmosphere or such an audience for a Test match ever again.

For all those that turned up, the shots Tendulkar played during his outing will remain in their minds forever, none more so ever than the shot that bought up his 68 Test fifty.  It was the trademark Tendulkar straight drive played with a full face of the bat and it just raced to the boundary.

For that spilt second, you wished you had the power to freeze time.  It would have been a fitting gift for man that has managed to freeze a nation of over a billion people for nearly a quarter of a decade. But to halt time is pure fantasy. And perhaps those who believe there will be another Tendulkar are also living a life of fantasy. There cannot be another Sachin Tendulkar.

Back in the real world, Tendulkar stroked his way to 74 before playing a deft late cut into 1st slip’s hand — Tendulkar was out! The brief walk back once again told a story of man who was consumed by cricket like probably no other player in the game.

Once he realised he was out, the disappointment on his face was evident.  But the primary reason for the dismay was because he had executed the same shot only couple of over’s ago against the same bowler.  So annoyed was Tendulkar he started to scurry off the ground, his natural instincts took over, he was mad at himself for not been able to execute the shot the way he should have. The cricketing brain was still in action and it seemed like Tendulkar had almost forgotten he had played his last ball in Test cricket.  About ¾ of his journey to the boundary rope, he halted and acknowledged the fans for one last time. It was not the prolonged goodbye many would have expected as the master rushed up the steps. But once again the walk back to the pavilion showcased Tendulkar was so engrossed and dedicated in his batting that all other factors were extraneous.

The world watched with much sadness, thousands on the ground and millions all over the world on television, a great batsman disappearing  in his batting gear from the international arena — forever. 

(Gaurav Joshi is an Indian-born Australian who played with Michael Clarke in his junior days. He coaches and reports for a Sydney radio station. Over the years he has freelanced for Australia Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and is a regular on ABC cricket show Cow Corner. He is the author of the book “Teen Thunder Down Under” – The inside story of India’s 2012 U19 World Cup Triumph)