If you are cricket fan and not lived in the Sachin era, accept my sympathy because I had the privilege of living in the Sachin era.
Obviously, the reference here is for the period between 1990 and 2005 where, Tendulkar carried the entire team on his shoulders. Who else are the remaining ten members of the team doesn’t matter much. There was only one lion in the forest.
Prominent bowlers feared loss of reputation while confronting him and opposition teams tailored special strategies to trap him. Bowlers starting from Abdul Quadir and Wasim Akrm and including Mc Grath, Shane Warne, Alan Donald… all fancied a duel with Tendulkar. In his rookie days, Tendulkar consistently practiced back cuts over the head of the pacers to the fence; destroying their confidence.
In early, 1990s, when Sachin was not an opener, people prayed for his appearance after the loss early wickets. There will be less rush on roads and low turnout in offices and class rooms when a major Sachin innings is expected. People watched matches with passion- their hearts vibrating, eyes brightening and were restless on their seats when Sachin was on song. A TV commercial during that time has lines “Hai Sachin Aa Gaya” (“Hai Sachin Vntharayya” in Tamil). People experienced cricket rather than watched it. Somewhere in this story, you also may a part of it, like me, as a cricket fan taking pride as an Indian by admiring the Little Master’s delightful innings.
The back to back centuries by Sachin at Sharjah against Australia in 1998, is a case study of the time. Quickies -Fleming and Kasperovich were flown to the dark skies of the desert as he built the Indian innings on his like. Australia lost to Sachin Tendulkar rather than to Team India.
This is what observers call Sachin magic. No other player before and after Tendulkar was able to produce that kind of enthusiasm in cricket fans.
Gone are those days of course I admit, but request you not to be so rude, to a man who embodied the values of Indian civilization and revealed it in sports. His character and skills are two features unlikely to happen simultaneously for a sportsperson. Tendulkar dedicated himself to the country and to the game. In spirit, character and values, Tendulkar was a true Indian. No other person in public domain was able to impart this much pride to Indian nationality.
After, Tendulkar’s prime time, cricket is ceased to be a game dominated by an individual, because, no individual can match him. Sachin’s achievements are not the records he laid, but the enormous passion he created in cricket fans. Nobody can reproduce that magic again. God! I am thankful to you, because you have created me to live in the era of Sachin Tendulkar.