Perfect Finale For The Retiring Legend: Sachin Tendulkar Awarded Bharat Ratna, Team India Gifts Him 2-0 Series Win!
Mumbai, Day 3: All shades of emotions were in spontaneously glorious display at Wankhede Stadium this morning as Sachin Tendulkar took the last bow out of cricket after India thumped West Indies by an innings and 126 runs in the Second and Final Test of the Tendulkar Farewell Series within the first session of play. There were cheers and tears; standing ovation and absolute adulation; ecstatic outbursts and pain of parting and unbridled show of pride, love and affection. Not only in the stadium where at least 25,000 people were there to watch their hero one last time, but everywhere across India and the world of cricket. Our newsroom was no exception as all of staff forgot to mind their work for one rare occasion and crowded around the television sets to watch and listen to the master-blaster. After all presentations and mementos the God of Cricket spoke to the whole of the world of cricket for nearly twenty minutes thanking his mother, his wife, his coach, his Wankhede where he started his cricket career exactly 24 years ago, his cricket Board, his team mates and colleagues, his therapists and doctors, and of course his millions of fans and cricket lovers. A man rooted to his culture Sachin walked to the pitch and did his prayers for the last time. Then his triumphant team mates who felt ecstatic being able to gift him a 2-0 Series win against West Indies carried him on their shoulders marching around the ground in gratitude and affection. The final golden touch of the day was yet to come.
Just about two hours after the match the President of India announced the Award of Bharat Ratna (The Pearl of India) to Sachin Tendulkar. Bharat Ratna is the highest civilian honor of the country and Sachin becomes the first ever sportsperson to get this. Whole of India, particularly his home state Maharashtra, celebrated across homes, offices, streets and markets. Scientist CNR Rao was also conferred Bharat Ratna for his contribution particularly in the recent Mars Mission.
Thus an illustrious career lasting exactly 24 years and a day in which he played 200 Test Matches, 463 ODIs and a lone T20 scoring 34,357 international runs came to a glorious end today. The 40-year-old maestro, who had rarely let emotions show on his cherubic face, began to break down after being presented a souvenir stump by his teammates. Wiping tears, he trudged back to the dressing room but not before acknowledging the fans and shaking hands with the West Indian cricketers at the boundary line. Kapil Dev and Sunil Gavaskar retired from international cricket quietly, so did Dravid and Laxman holding their customary press conferences. Ganguly and Kumble got a farewell but it was much muted by those standards. But when it came to Tendulkar, who has truly transcended all boundaries, it was only fitting that a billion people would be swayed by emotions.
In the second innings there was just one half century by D Ramdin (53 not out) as West Indies crumbled to a pathetic 187 in 47 overs giving India a huge victory margin for the second consecutive time. Pragyan Ojha was declared the man of the match for taking 10 wickets (5 for 40 and 5 for 49) and debutant Rohit Sharma the man of the series for two consecutive and brilliant centuries. Ashwin took 4 wickets and one by Mohammed Shami. The Scorecard:
Sachin Tendulkar euphoria is not going to subside soon. After the announcement of the highest award for him fans would expect him to speak to them again and an endless of stream of felicitations leading finally to the Award Ceremony.