Sachin Tendulkar will play his 200th and final Test in Mumbai against the West Indies, starting November 14. Since the age of 16, the 40-year-old has been playing international cricket and has carried the hopes and aspirations of a billion people for the majority of his career. With Sachin's 24-year tryst with international cricket drawing to a close fellow legends Sourav Ganguly and Brian Lara discuss life after retirement for Sachin in an exclusive interview with NDTV.
"I think Sachin has made the right decision to retire," said Ganguly. "He deserves every bit of adulation that he has received. If this were in South Africa, Sachin wouldn't have got half the adulation, but now he will go out on a high in Mumbai."
Lara though cautions that it may not be easy for Master Blaster to settle into a retired life. "He will immediately feel a gap in his life," said Brian Lara to NDTV. "When you have spent a majority of your life playing cricket and following a dream, you wonder what to do after it all ends. But Sachin is a successful man, he will quickly get back on his feet." (Read: Lara compares Sachin to Michael Jordan)
Ganguly too believes that any gap in Sachin's life will soon be filled. "Sachin's got so much to contribute to Indian cricket and world cricket that he will find his way," said Ganguly of the man with whom he shared an emotional hug at the Eden Gardens last week. Ganguly added that while Sachin might need a break for a year, he will quickly be back as the ambassador of Indian cricket.
On the evidence of the first Test in the on-going series versus the West Indies, Sachin's fitness as is good as it can get with him chasing after every delivery on the field, his bowling and his running between the wickets. Ganguly though reckons that with the dip in form over the past two-three years, Sachin hasn't lived up to his own expectations.
"Sachin can still get runs with experience but the frequency between the big scores has reduced. This happens with age as a cricketer's reflexes become slower. Nobody else in world cricket would have been given as long a rope as Sachin has and he has accepted the fact that it is time for him to go," said Ganguly.
Looking back at a glorious career, Ganguly believes that Sachin can feel proud. "Once Sachin sits down after the Mumbai Test to reflect, he'll know he has done proud, there is nothing that he hasn't achieved and he is a champion!"