| Krishnamachari Srikkanth |
Calcutta: Krishnamachari Srikkanth, Sachin Tendulkar’s first India captain, was heading for an appointment with his doctor when news broke that The Master wouldn’t play beyond his 200th Test.
An hour or so later, Srikkanth returned The Telegraph’s call. Over to him…
“To be honest, I was expecting Sachin to play till the series in South Africa, for the Indian team would be needing him… However, now that he has made his decision, we cannot but respect it…
“Everybody is talking about the Test series (at home) against the West Indies… I’m praying that Sachin gets a hundred in his 200th Test… 200 Tests!
“People salute Sachin for his extraordinary feats as a cricketer, but his achievements have actually been extraordinary purely as a human being… He’ll be finishing with around 35,000 runs in Tests and ODIs, in 200 Test appearances and over 450 ODIs… If that is not superhuman, what is!
“I’ve known Sachin for 24 years and, as a person, he’s not changed one bit… He remains calm and composed, just as he was in his debut series (1989-90)… That he has handled so much pressure for this long a period is remarkable… He’s had to cope with expectations to the extent that if he gets a 50 or a 60, he’s deemed to have failed!
“Sourav (Ganguly), Rahul Dravid, (VVS) Laxman… All made their debut after Sachin and all have retired before him… That, in a way, puts in perspective Sachin’s longevity…
“As remarkable is that Sachin has retained the passion right through this period of 24 years and his commitment has never been questioned. He’s been the perfect role model… Look at the way he played for the Mumbai Indians in the business end of the (just-ended) CLT20… You had to admire the passion of this incredible 40-year-old…
“Sachin won’t just be missed on the field, his inspirational presence won’t be there in the India dressing room… The emerging generation won’t have him in their midst. It’s a loss for them.”
The Virat Kohlis have been lucky.