I have no memory of cricket without Sachin Tendulkar.
I have watched highlights, and read the fervent praise of past batting masters, but they remain only as homage. It is Sachin who has been this generation’s living embodiment of the ascent to cricket’s pinnacle – from precocious upstart, to middle order warrior, to icon.
The greatest batsman ever to have played the game? It’s a label fraught with argument. How to ally the differences in playing conditions and bowling opposition over time. How to gauge greatness. And most of all, whether it matters.
There is no one to compare him to. 463. 18426. 49. His numbers are records; unlikely to be overhauled. He is the perennial top of statistical graphics, the #1 against which other batsmen fight for second place. The joy derived from his batting is as much in the exactness of his technique and the clarity of each shot, as in the imperious scores to which they contribute.
But his position in cricket is most pronounced when you consider his impact on the sport and its fans. An impact that has become clearest in the wake of his ODI retirement; in the tributes it has inspired and the memories to which it has given resurgence.
Blue shirt, flag on helmet, head still, bat ready, high elbow, front-foot punch, down the ground …. silence, madness, four. — Sidvee (@sidvee) December 23, 2012
Siddhartha Vaidyanathan (____________) recalls the ages of Sachin through the changing stages of his own life, in his tribute “Growing up with Sachin”.
Dileep Premachandran (Wisden India) looks back on Sachin’s mastery of the one-day international format, and his constant striving for (and grasp of) perfection, in his piece “What Made Tendulkar first among equals”.
Minal (The Corridor of Certainty) tips her hat to Sachin and the end of an era, through one of his favourite songs, in her tribute “Main Zindagi Ka Saath Nibhata Chala Gaya”.
Matt Becker (Limited Overs) considers the meta-narrative of Sachin’s retirement from one format only, and his legacy in ODIs, in “One Long Day”.
Sidhanta Patnaik relives the stages of Sachin’s career as he viewed them, and the emotional journey of following cricket through Sachin in “How I knew Tendulkar”.
Prantik Mazumdar reflects on key moments and matches, and chronicles Sachin’s career through the fortitude and resilience through which he made a success of them, in “Mazhaa Aani Amchaa Sachin!”
Not all tributes are in words. Brinda (@itsbrinda) captures the quintessential moments of Sachin’s career in a graphic.
Some of the most touching tributes come from those who played alongside (and against) Sachin. A small section of their reactions are captured on ESPNCricinfo.
Paddy Upton, who worked with the Indian team alongside Gary Kirsten, gives his own insight into Sachin as a talent, and a man. His blog post, “Arise Sachin Tendulkar. The cricketer and the man” is testament to the personal characteristics that set Sachin apart from his peers.
And, on this site, Aashish Chandorkar gives a nostalgic take on his following of Sachin and the indelible impression he has left on multiple generations, in his piece, “I believed“.
The overwhelming sentiment amongst those who watched, followed, appreciated, and celebrated him, is captured simply, thus:
Thank You Sachin.
— BCC! (@BoredCricket) December 23, 2012