Right from the time India lifted the World Cup on a balmy evening in Mumbai back in April 2011, most cricket pundits, fanatics, spectators, support staff, ex-cricketers, would be cricketers, haves and have-nots have been pondering over what the greatest batsman since Donald Bradman would do about his career. Well, without putting too fine a point to it everyone wanted to know when Sachin Tendulkarwould retire. However, the very next gut wrench inducing thought for every Indian cricket follower and supporter has been the gaping hole that would be left in the already fragile Indian bating line up.
THE EMERGENCE OF VIRAT KOHLI
Now, it brings us nicely to our original objective- finding a replacement for the peerless Sachin Tendulkar. Virat Kohli has been hailed as the next batting star and a possible replacement for the great man in the Indian batting line up but with all due respect to Kohli, is it a like-for like replacement? No one, not even Kohli himself will allow such a tag to be stuck to him so early in his career. In the last series against Australia, Tendulkar showed absolutely no sign of slowing down and in fact looked well set to score a century on more than one occasion but the specter of retirement always seemed to loom large whenever he came out to bat. On the other hand, Tendulkar’s supposed replacement seemed to wither under the pressure of expectations.
THE HERO WORSHIP OF THE LITTLE MASTER
However, another aspect of this discourse is that Sachin Tendulkar is not merely a batsman who is revered across the length and breadth of India but also across the world. In fact, more people turned up at a Nike store opening event in Berlin when Tendulkar was there than the time when the football sorcerer Lionel Messi was there for the same reason. Berlin, did I say? So, who will replace Tendulkar in a country which does not even have a cricket team? Lamentably, anyone would be short of answers. So, as one can see Tendulkar is more than the mere headache of the Indian cricket supporter, he is as much a loss for the entire cricketing community. Sometimes the departure of a great exponent of a particular art is not only bemoaned by the people from his own country but by the entire global community of the exponents and enthusiasts of that art
THE EXPECTATIONS OF A CRICKET FAN
In the same vein, it is inordinately naive to think of a replacement for Tendulkar merely with respect to Indian team because the man stood for everything that was noble, beautiful and sublime about the game over the past 24 years of his glorious international career. Make no mistake, Tendulkar is a fiercely patriotic man and he himself would like nothing better than a like for like replacement in the Indian team itself but for a cricket enthusiast or for someone who enjoys the intrinsic beauty of the game it would not matter which passport is held by the ‘next Tendulkar’ as long as he keeps spreading joy and wonder like the original one.
Image Source : IANS