This image is all I need to sum up my respect for Sachin Tendulkar. It is a slightly amusing, yet emotionally stirring glimpse into what really does make him "just a bloke". No lengthy article needed to be written, as there will be many out there. This image is enough for me.
The media frenzy, frightening fanatical obsession (which I will never understand not being an Indian supporter), and immense pressure both internally and externally come the game. Imagine it! Yet he has managed to find a balance and keep it together, calmly on the outside. Inside? I am curious about the honest emotions of the man who wanted nothing more than to be a cricketer.
I won't have the emotional strain when Sachin walks away from the game that's been his identity in life, as I experienced with the retirements of Brian Lara, Steve Waugh, Gary Kirsten, and most recently Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussy, but something will inevitably be felt in someway by all cricket fanatics.
I first saw Sachin in the 1992 Cricket World Cup, the event that sparked my love for the game and years later it's quite something when I think that in 2013 he is still carrying his bat. More than two decades later in my own life.
The impact in India will be both immense and moving, and it will be a special moment to witness Sachin depart from international cricket. He is the last player from a chapter now being finalised. Jacques Kallis is, perhaps, the last man standing now.
Best wishes to Sachin Tendulkar and his family for what adventures await them beyond the game of cricket.
Image ©Getty Images, courtesy of ESPN Cricinfo.com
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