The greatest cricket player in decades, Sachin Tendulkar, announced his retirement in India this week. He is 40 years old and not only the face of Indian cricket, but the entire sport.
His batting records will probably never be broken.
I know, most of you have probably never heard of him. But, nearly a quarter of the world’s population knows exactly whom you are referring to, when you say the name, Sachin Tenduklar. When Sachin announced his retirement, he immediately started ‘trending’ on Twitter.
Many guess that cricket is the world’s second most popular sport, after soccer.
It is hard to estimate just how many people follow cricket. but this short article shows its following globally.
Considering Sachin’s an ad-man for dozens of Indian products, being the most popular player on their national team since he was 16 years old, a fair estimate is that out of India’s 1.2 billion, only a small percentage are clueless to his existence.
I have become a cricket fan. My friend Ari taught me the basics of the game in South Delhi two years ago. Then I watched hours of matches with the guys I lived during my time there. They taught me its finer details and viewing it with them, I felt more ‘Indian.’
Only have watched Sachin a handful of times, but people told me his play was not as dynamic as before. I have read commentaries saying he should have retired two years ago. However, he is practically a deity to Indians and cricket fans, and many would find the previous sentences nearly sacrilegious.
Growing up, I was familiar with the game, but like most Americans did not comprehend its rules, thinking it too complicated. Furthermore, I did not have any opportunities to either play or watch it.
My opinion has totally changed. I enjoy it, sometimes awaking long before dawn or going to sleep in the early morning hours watching matches on my computer. Occasionally, even Sasmita joins me. Even my boss and I occasionally ‘talk trash’ when our national teams play each other because he is Sri Lankan. I am sure our co-workers do not fully understand our affinity for the game.
After spending time in India, especially when India won the Cricket World Cup in 2011, it was easy to get caught up in the euphoria around the sport. Everyone seems glued to televisions or radios when matches are on and its practically inescapable.
This week India mourns the end of an era, and of an icon they call ‘The Little Master.’