|What a Relief!!!
As a citizen of a nation obsessed with Cricket, I too had great love for the game. I can't recall exactly when I started loving the game, but often spent days in front of the idiot box at home, ears glued to my small radio at the backbench in college, begging to the hostel warden to let us watch the world cup match between Sri Lanka and India (it ended rather disastrously, leaving many of us in tears) and many more... Though India had always been my favorite, and will continue to be so, I've always enjoyed other matches too... When South Africa chased down the highest score, I had cheered as if I was a South African!
Today, as India suffered a loss, despite Tendulkar finally achieving his 100th century, I feel that Indian Cricket is the loser. I have nothing against Tendulkar, and though I don't consider him as the God of Cricket, I had high regard for him as a player. But, I think slowly he is falling off the high pedestal on which he is placed. His passion for the game is never questioned. The fact that his presence and contribution to world cricket is enormous, is also undoubted. Still, I refuse to hail this 100th century.
If I am not entirely mistaken, he had stated that the only thing that was missing from his career, and which he badly wanted, was the World Cup. When he got it the last year, he should have gracefully left the stage. He lingered on and the hype for the 100th 100 got too much that, he himself admitted the pressure was too much on him. And finally, when it came today, as an Indian Cricket fan, I am not at all happy. A Tendulkar fan would be happy, but not me!
Now if he retires after the series, many would say that he had also been waiting for this milestone; so selfish of him! If he doesn't, many would again ask what more does he need to achieve!!! Tendulkar has placed himself in a rather uncomfortable zone... and might (I hope not) end up being portrayed as someone who is concerned about his records only. All his good deeds of the past would be forgotten and he would be disgraced (believe me, we are capable of that - it takes the fans no time to put anyone on a high pedestal and then pull them off it!!!)
The ability to call quits when one is at top is not an easy thing! The desire and belief that one can do better will naturally be strong, when one is at top. But it is better to call it a day with one's head held high than being forced to come to that decision. May be Tendulkar should take a leaf out of Dravid's example and spare us the trouble. I am no one to tell that but, personally, if he had retired when he had scored 99 centuries, the regard I had for him would have been a bit more high. If anything, this insipid century has deepened my feeling that he should quit ASAP.
Let me end by saying that once upon a time, I too was awe-struck with his brilliance and couldn't have enough of his batting... Not anymore! Still, Thanks for all the wonderful times that you gave a cricket fan like me. And though would be difficult for him to think of a life without wearing the Indian Jersey, I hope that he call it a day - sooner than later!
PS: Special Congratulations to the Bengladeshi Team for showing that even mortals can win over Gods, if they are determined enough!!!