Rahul Dravid says his long-time India teammate Sachin Tendulkar was comfortable with the decision on his retirement and must have known “he can’t carry on” longer after a 24-year international career.
“You knew that it was going to happen sooner rather than later. There were indications that he would finish it but he would finish that with the West Indies tour, I did not get that inkling,” said Dravid.
“It wouldn’t have been easy for him. He must have known from his heart. He had gone by what his heart told him. You take a lot of advice from family, people who are close to you,” Dravid was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo after it was announced on Thursday that Tendulkar will hang up his boots following his 200th Test next month.
“In the end, it’s your call and it’s been Sachin’s call. I was just speaking to him and he seemed comfortable with the decision he made. It’s hard to explain these things like how you arrived at such decisions.
“It’s just that you feel like that the time is right for you. Sometimes you take a little bit longer to confirm your feelings deep down. Ensure that it’s not an emotional decision which you have made. Once you know, then it becomes easier for you.
“You know you don’t have that same energy and drive to keep going. Someone, who has played with the passion that he has, the energy that he has, he would have known that he can’t carry on,” said Dravid, who retired from international cricket in March.
It was only last Sunday when Dravid and Tendulkar played their last match in coloured clothing as they faced each other in the Champions League T20 final. Tendulkar, playing for the Mumbai Indians, had the last laugh with his team winning the trophy for the second time.
“It’s been a great career, a great opportunity for him and for the whole of India... these two matches to recognise what he has done. I think it’s a great time for him to go, in a sense the 200th Test match. It’s a great occasion for him playing in his 200th Test, probably in Mumbai and in front of his home crowd. It’s fantastic for him,” Dravid said reflecting further on his teammate’s glorious career.
‘The Wall’ reckoned Tendulkar’s absence in the Indian dressing room will be a great loss for the youngsters.
“A young cricketer will lose the inspiration. He loses the opportunity to share a dressing room with Tendulkar, a living legend. It was for me, I was seven years junior to him as a player and just getting into the dressing room and putting your kit bag next to Sachin meant something. It was an inspiration in some level,” said Dravid recalling his debut series in England in 1996.
“Sachin was always approachable. He would make you feel extremely comfortable. If he would have carried on as a superstar, no one would have been able to stop Meanwhile, on Friday India turned nostalgic with news of Tendulkar’s looming retirement and the sentiment was reflected in the national media as it highlighted his glorious 24-year international cricket career.
Newspapers paid flowing tributes on their front pages, continuing the odes by news channels, which began running special features on Tendulkar immediately after his announcement on Thursday that he will retire next month.
“There will never be another you” ran a banner headline on the front page of the Hindustan Times while The Indian Express carried a huge silhouetted picture of Tendulkar walking into the sunset, headlined “The Void.”
The Times of India had a collage of pictures from Tendulkar’s childhood and teenage days mingled with its masthead and its main story was headlined “God Bye” since he is often referred to as the “God of Cricket” in this part of the world.
All newspapers carried reactions and quotes from the cricket fraternity as well as lengthy articles listing the achievements of the “Little Master” since he became the youngest Indian test cricketer at the age of 16.
The 40-year-old Tendulkar, who will retire after a record 200th test during next month’s home series against West Indies, is the most prolific scorer in international cricket with 15,837 runs in 198 tests and 18,426 runs in 463 one-day internationals.
Tendulkar, who has already retired from limited-overs internationals, is the only batsman to score 100 international centuries with 51 in tests and 49 in ODIs. He was also the first batsman to score a double-century in ODIs when he made 200 not out against South Africa at Gwalior in 2010.
News channels also ran reactions from the public both on camera and via Twitter while the morning radio shows poured in accolades on Tendulkar, whose retirement announcement had looked imminent but was a surprise as it came far ahead of the West Indies series.
“Congrats to my good friend Sachin on what can only be described as an amazing career!” tweeted former Australia legspinner Shane Warne. “I wish you & your family all the best in the future. Was a privilege & an honour to do battle with the little master on the field. But our friendship is something I cherish!”
Flamboyant India batsman Virender Sehwag said he had not come to terms with his idol’s retirement.
“Sachin announcement hasn’t sunk in yet,” Sehwag tweeted. “It feels as if an integral part of my life is in transition. Words aren’t enough to thank u paaji (brother)!”
Rifle shooter Abhinav Bindra, India’s only individual gold medal winner at any Olympics, tweeted: “Don’t really know what to say about sachin. Everything will fall short. Just wish him the very best for his next innings.”
Bollywood star Shahrukh Khan tweeted that Tendulkar would be missed on the cricket field: “O no! Suddenly realised the meaning of addiction. Mine was the Master. I am going thru cold turkey. To see cricket without Sachin? Unbearable.”
Shahrukh is a co-owner of Indian Premier League franchise Kolkata Knight Riders