The summer of 1996 had changed my life forever. It was during this time I came across the name Sachin Tendulkar. He was the vice-captain of Indian cricket team at that time.

I was quite amazed at the 23-year-old guy with curly hairs and the massive expectations that surrounded around him. How can anyone bear such a mammoth expectation? Sachin did live up to those expectations and never disheartened his fans. It was my childhood memory.

When I attained adulthood, by then “Sachin Tendulkar” has already become a legend. I could still found him so inspirational and a venerable figure. This journey has continued for more than two decades but finally came to an unexpected end in November 2013, when the master had call it a day. Eyes of the fans still filled with tears on realizing that he will never play for India again at any official match.

The Lone Warrior

I can still recount some of the magnificent knocks that this legend has played. Master’s heroic fights against the likes of Glen McGrath, Damien Fleming, Shaun Pollock, Wasim Akram and others were truly spectacular.

One can’t disagree with the fact that Tendulkar was the lone warrior for India during his early years. Even if things went wrong it was the master blaster who stood there to fight. A perception was built that “if Sachin gets out then India will lose the match.”

Some of his powerful knocks came for a losing cause for the team too. Be it his fighting knock of 136 against Pakistan in Chennai or 177 against Australia in Bengaluru, at both these occasions India was defeated. Sachin had motivated us through these innings that we should take on newer challenges with whatever limited resources we have.

Storm of Inspiration

The master blaster has exhibited him as a true youth icon on and off the field. You will never find him engaged in sledging or using harsh words. This encourages us to always stay humble and down to earth.

His two innings against Australia at Sharjah were truly breath-taking. At a match just before the final, he had successfully scored 143 runs to bring India into the final. He tore apart the Australian bowling attack and hit many boundaries and towering sixes. It was during this match, the storm had interrupted the play. Once the match was resumed Sachin has played one of his finest knocks in ODI. Definitely the storm couldn’t dampen the spirit of a determined Sachin.

At the final match of the tournament, Tendulkar again scored a wonderful 134 that helped India won the trophy convincingly. These two innings induce us to perform where it matters most.

An inning that brought tears

In the year 1999, the saddest news of his father’s demise came to Sachin during the ICC World cup at England. Sachin immediately came back to India. It was his family that pursued him to continue playing the world cup.

Sachin scored an unbeaten hundred at the match that followed. His blitzkrieg knock of 140* helped India to win the match against Kenya. This was the inning that truly brought tears into the eyes of Sachin and his fans. Sachin seemed somber during the whole match yet he tried to stay playful. This was truly a memorable knock. It reminds us of our great soldiers, who continue to serve the motherland throughout the year irrespective of their problems or personal loss back home.

Amidst Match-Fixing Controversy

The world of cricket was severely embarrassed in the beginning of this millennium. Many cricketers got involved at match-fixing scandal. Many in India became disinterested about cricket. Other cricketers were too viewed with suspicion. Sachin Tendulkar was the name that gave solace to all fans worldwide. He stood rock solid and the most righteous cricketer as ever.

Unfortunately Team India’s performance was not up to the mark during that period. The poor show of Indian cricketers on fields had been continuing to disappoint everyone. Fed up with the lackluster performance of Indian cricket team, the master blaster decided to resign from his captaincy. It was the Sachin who first suggested to BCCI that Saurav Ganguly shall be made the new captain of Indian cricket team and the rest is history. Tendulkar might not speak a lot, but he prefers to open his mouth for the larger good where it is necessary.

The Youth Brigade and the ICC World Cup 2003

India’s campaign at world cup 2003 is remembered for two things. The first one being Ganguly’s amazing display of leadership ability to lead the team from the front and another is Sachin Tendulkar’s superb display of batting skills.

Team India was full of youngsters like Yuvraj Singh, Virender Sehwag, Harbhajan Singh and others. Tendulkar assumed the role of a mentor and supported new brigade throughout the tournament. India’s successful campaign at the world Cup finally came to an end at the final clash against Australia. Sachin Tendulkar was awarded the player of the tournament trophy for scoring maximum runs in this edition of the tournament.

Sachin Forever

In the words of famous writer Mark Twain “Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter”. Tendulkar seemed to believe in it. After the world cup of 2003, many thought he would retire but Sachin’s dream of winning a world cup was still not achieved.

Four years later, Team India went to West Indies to play the ICC World cup 2007.  India was immediately knocked out of it in the league stage itself. The nation was thoroughly disappointed and our cricketers were severely criticised by the media. Sachin stayed silent and felt it would be better to shut his critics by his performances. Surprisingly the next three-four years of this ace batsman were glorious as ever. He almost equated to that of his perforamnce of early days. Hitting a double century at the age of 37 and becoming the first player to do so in ODI format is simply unbelievable, but Sachin did that.

Master blaster was now more than adamant to win the next world cup. The day came when India won the world cup 2011. Sachin stood to be the second highest run getter of the tournament after T. Dilshan of Sri Lanka. He fall short by eighteen runs only otherwise he would have been the top scorer of this tournament.

Sachin will forever remain a true inspiration to me. His talents, honesty and determination do alwasy inspire me to do well in life and bring glory to India. THANK YOU, SACHIN !