M A I N   N E W S

On a day Sachin Tendulkar left the field one last time,
India bestowed on him country’s top civilian honour
Bharat Ratna for Sachin, top scientist Rao

New Delhi, November 16
Cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar and eminent scientist Prof CNR Rao were chosen for the Bharat Ratna today. With this, Tendulkar who retired from international cricket this afternoon became the first sportsman to be awarded the country's highest civilian honour.

Tendulkar (40) and Rao (89), both of whom are recipients of Padma Vibhushan — the country's second highest civilian honour — join a list of 41 eminent personalities to get the award given in recognition of exceptional service of the highest order since it was instituted in 1954.

In a fitting finale to a record-breaking career spanning 24 years, Sachin Tendulkar, a former India Captain, was chosen for the prestigious award, as he bade adieu to international cricket after his farewell Test against the West Indies that ended in Mumbai. The announcement was made by Rashtrapati Bhavan within hours after Tendulkar played his 200th Test.

An official statement said Tendulkar had been a true Ambassador of India in the world of sports and his achievements in cricket were unparalleled, the records set by him unmatched, and the spirit of sportsmanship displayed by him exemplary.

“That he has been honoured with several awards is testimony to his extraordinary brilliance as a sportsman,” it said, noting that Tendulkar had played cricket across the world and won laurels for the country during the past 24 years. — PTI



Tendulkar bows out on emotional pitch
Rohit Mahajan
Tribune News Service

A tearful Sachin with his family at the presentation ceremony.
A tearful Sachin with his family at the presentation ceremony. — PTI

Mumbai, November 16
Sachin Tendulkar won’t play for India again. People will remember this as the day they cried, they’ll remember the bereaved sport of cricket, they’ll be touched deep inside, for this is the day cricket died for many.

Twenty-four years after making his debut, Sachin Tendulkar, the latest and the most beloved Bharat Ratna, had his last day on a cricket ground today. We won’t see him in whites again. He won’t play for India again.

But, for 20 minutes and 30 seconds, he played on the emotions of 25,000 people as if playing a stringed instrument. He spoke with tenderness and emotion as he bid his final goodbye to the sport and his fans.

He spoke straight from the heart. It was a heart to heart talk. He touched thousands of hearts in the stadium and, doubtless, millions through the TV. Tears flowed freely in the stands; hardened journalists in the press box fought back tears, some let them flow down their faces to drip down their chins.

Tendulkar, the shy boy who dreaded speaking in public, now the 40-year-old veteran, touched hearts with his words. His words are all we had today. The West Indies, the most woeful team from the Caribbean to ever play Test cricket in India, folded up for 187 in their second innings, losing the match by an innings and 126 runs, 13 minutes before noon today.

Then a vast wave of Sachinmania swept through the stadium. The moment Tendulkar was asked to speak to the people, a massive roar that seemed impossible to silence broke through. People shouted “Sacheeen, Sachin” incessantly. “All my friends,” began the master,” “Settle down, let me talk, I will get more and more emotional.”

The shouts got louder, Tendulkar waited for them to subside, then realised that that would happen only when he started talking.

Tendulkar touched every heart in the stadium; everyone present in the stadium, or watching on TV, could sense the sincerity and purity of his sentiment, everyone could relate to the feeling he expressed.

Tendulkar talked of his father, mother, aunt, brothers, sister, wife, children, guru, and friends — he covered the gamut of relationships and emotions. All of us could relate to at least a few, if not all, of these relationships and sentiments. All of us were touched.

He spoke of the father who gave him the freedom to choose cricket when he was 11, and whom he misses every day of his life; he spoke of the mother who prayed and prayed and prayed for him; his aunt who was a mother for him as he lived away from home; his sister who gave him his first bat; his brothers who guided and mentored him.

The most beautiful thing that happened to him, though, was meeting his wife, he said. “Thanks for bearing with me and always staying by my side through all the ups and downs,” he said. “You are the best partnership I've had in my life.”

He spoke of his children: “The two precious diamonds of my life, Sara and Arjun. I promise you that for 14 and 16 years I have not spent enough time with both of you, the next 16 years or even beyond that, everything is for you.”

He spoke of his friends, his teammates past and present, naming Rahul, Laxman, Sourav and Anil.

Tendulkar forgot none today. It’s a mark of the man that he who’s a reluctant speaker spoke with surprising fluency and felicity for 20 minutes. His sense of gratitude to the fans and those who helped made him great was palpable.

Finally, he spoke words that made hearts flutter and goosebumps rise on the skin of every listener. He said that the shout "Sachin, Sachin will reverberate in my ears till I stop breathing”.

Tendulkar the cricketer ceased to be today, and oh the difference to cricket!

Words are all Tendulkar gave us — words are all he had today, his last day in the sport. But what words, what emotion!



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