We love Tendulkar in Pakistan: Hafeez
A bilateral cricket series between India and Pakistan after five years has got to be special. But a news that broke on the morning of Dec 23, 2012 – two days before the first T20I, in Bengaluru between the two teams – took a bit of magic away from the highly-anticipated contest. It was the announcement of Sachin Tendulkar’s retirement from One Day Internationals.
That means the crowds at the Chepauk, the Eden Gardens and the Feroz Shah Kotla – the venues for the India-Pakistan ODI series – have been denied the chance of chanting “Sachiiiiiin! Sachin!” one last time.
And since a Test match between the cross-border arch rivals is nowhere within sight, it also means that a dream of some of the young players in the Pakistan team might remain unfulfilled. They might never get to experience what it is like to be on the same playing field as the Little Master.
Pakistan’s 23-year-old batsman, Umar Amin, who is on his first India tour with the national team, agrees.
“I have never played with Sachin Tendulkar but have watched him a lot. I played against India in the 2010 Asia Cup but unfortunately he didn’t play that game. He is one of the best players that cricket has ever produced. I can say only one thing for him – If cricket was a religion, Sachin would be the God.”
Sohail Tanvir, who has had a chance to play against the batting legend, fell short of words while trying to explain how great the man is. Tanvir recalled how bowling to Tendulkar was one of the most punishing jobs in cricket.
“No words are enough to describe Sachin bhai’s performances. He is a very highly respected player not just because of his contribution to Indian cricket but to world cricket on the whole. Of all the cricketers that I have seen since I started playing cricket, Sachin Tendulkar is the greatest. But like in life, in cricket too the end is inevitable. It was great fun playing against him and very difficult as well. With the kind of strokes he had, the margin of error was very little against him. I’m glad he is still playing Test cricket and hope that he scores many more centuries for India.”
Tanvir’s pace bowling partner, Umar Gul, cherished every little success he’s had against the champion batsman. He specially acknowledged Tendulkar’s role as mentor to young Indian batsmen.
“I have been watching him since I was a kid and to be able to play against him was a pleasure. I think the best thing he has done for Indian cricket is to groom young batsmen like Virat (Kohli), (Suresh) Raina, etc. I hope these guys have made the most of the opportunity of learning from him. I have played a lot against him and have always enjoyed getting his wicket.”
Pakistan’s T20I skipper, Mohammad Hafeez, claimed that India’s favourite son is as loved in Pakistan as he is in his own motherland.
“He’s a legend. He entertained us all for so many years. I personally will really miss him. We have seen so many of his great performances that we will surely miss him. As a cricketer I feel really sad that he has retired because I really loved the way he dominated the whole world in ODI cricket for more than two decades. We all love him in Pakistan. His talent is exceptional. I wish him all the best in whatever he decides to do in the future.”