. By T.V. Antony Raj
Today, the curtains came down for 40-year-old Sachin Tendulkar’s remarkable cricket career. Sachin gave a heart-warming speech to thank his family, teammates, coaches, friends and fans saying it was unbelievable that his life between “22 yards in the last 24 years” has at last come to an end.
Here is Sachin Tendulkar’s Farewell Speech:
All my friends, settle down. Let me talk, I’ll get more and more emotional.
My life, between 22 yards for 24 years, it is hard to believe that wonderful journey has come to an end. But, I would like to take this opportunity to thank people who played an important role in my life also, for the first time in my life I am carrying this list, to remember all the names in case I forget someone. I hope you understand. It’s getting a little bit difficult to talk, but I will manage.
Late Ramesh Tendulkar
The most important person in my life, and I have missed him a lot since 1999 when he passed away, my father. Without his guidance, I don’t think I would have been standing here in front of you. He gave me freedom at the age of eleven and told me that “Chase your dreams, but make sure you don’t find short cuts. The path might be difficult, but don’t give up,” and I have simply followed his instructions. Above all, he told me to be a nice human being, which I’ll continue to do so and I’ll try my best. Every time I have done something special whenever I showed my bat, it was for my father.
Sachin Tendulkar’s Amma (Mother).
My mother, I don’t know how she dealt with such a naughty child like me. I was not easy to manage. She must be extremely patient. For a mother, the most important thing is that her child remains safe and healthy and fit. That was what she was most bothered and worried about. She took care of me for the last 24 years that I have played for India, but even before that she started praying for me the day I started playing cricket. She just prayed and prayed and prayed and I think her prayers and blessings have given me the strength to go out and perform, so a big thank you to my mother for all the sacrifices.
In my school days, for four years, I stayed with my uncle and my aunt because my school was quite far from my home, and they treated me like their son. My aunt, after having had a hard day’s play, I would be half asleep, and she would be feeding me food so I could go again and play again tomorrow. I can’t forget these moments. I am like their son, and I am glad that it has continued to be the same way.
My eldest brother, Nitin, and his family, have always encouraged me. My eldest brother doesn’t like to talk much, but the one thing he always told me is that whatever you do, I know you will always give it 100%, and that I have full confidence and faith in you. His encouragement meant a lot to me.
My sister, Savita, and her family, was no different. The first cricket bat of my life was presented to me by my sister. It was a Kashmir willow bat. But that is where the journey began. She is one of those many who still continue to fast when I bat. So, thank you very much.
Ajit, my brother, now what do I talk about him? I don’t know. We have lived this dream together. He was the one who sacrificed his career for my cricket. He spotted the spark in me. And it all started from the age of 11 when he took me Archrekar sir, my coach. From there on my life changed.
You will find this hard to believe that even last night he called to discuss my dismissal, knowing that there was a remote chance of batting again, but just the habit which we have developed, the rapport we have developed, since my birth. It has continued and it will continue. Maybe even when I’m not playing cricket we will still be discussing techniques. Various things we agree upon, my technique, and so many technical things which I didn’t agree with him, we have had arguments and disagreements, but in the end when I look back at all these things if that hadn’t happened in my life, I would have been a lesser cricketer.
Sachin Tendulkar and Anjali – Wedding
The most beautiful thing happened to me in 1991 when I met my wife Anjali. Those were special years and it has continued and will always continue that way. I know Anjali, being a doctor; there was a wonderful career in front of her. When we decided to have a family, Anjali took the initiative to step back and said you continue with your cricket and I will take the responsibility of the family.
Without that, I don’t think I would have been able to play cricket freely and without any stress. Thanks for bearing with all my fuss, all my frustrations, and all sorts of rubbish that I have spoken. I normally do.Thanks for bearing with me and always staying by my side through the ups and downs. You are the best partnership I have had in my life.
Sachin Tendulkar’s son Arjun and daughter Sara.
Then, the two precious diamonds of my life, Sara and Arjun. They have already grown up. You know, my daughter is 16 and my son is 14. Time has flown by. I wanted to spend so much time with them on special occasions like their birthdays, their annual days, sports day, going on holidays, whatever. I have missed out on all those things. Thanks for your understanding. Both of you have been so, so special to me you cannot imagine. I promise you for 14 and 16 years I have not spent enough time with both of you, but the next 16 years or even beyond that, everything is for you.
My in-laws, Anand Mehta and Annabelle, both have been so, so supportive, loving, caring. I discuss various things in life, generally with them, and have taken their advice. You know, it’s so important to have a strong family who is always with you and guiding you. Before you start clapping, the most important thing they did was allowing me to marry Anjali, so thank you very much.
In the last 24 years that I have played for India I have made new friends, and before that I have had friends from my childhood. They have all had a terrific contribution. As and when I have called them to come and bowl to me at the nets, they have left their work aside to come and help me. Be it joining me on holidays and having discussions on cricket, or whenever I was a little stressed and wanting to find a solution so I can perform better. All those moments my friends were with me. Even for when I was injured, I would wake up in the morning because I couldn’t sleep and thought that my career was over because of injuries, that is when my friends have woken up at 3 o’clock in the morning to drive with me and make me believe that my career was not over. Life would be incomplete without all those friends. Thanks for being there for me.
My cricket career started when I was 11. The turning point of my career was when my brother took me to Archrekar sir. I was extremely delighted to see him up in the stands. Normally he sits in front of the television and he watches all the games that I play. When I was 11, 12, those were the days when I used to hop back on his scooter and play a couple of practice matches a day. The first half the innings I would be batting at Shivaji Park, the second half, at some other match in Azad Maidan. Sir would take me all over Mumbai to make sure I got match practice.
On a lighter note, in the last 29 years, sir has never ever said well played to me because he thought I would get complacent and I would stop working hard. Maybe he can push his luck and wish me now, well done on my career, because there is no more matches, sir, in my life. I will be witnessing cricket, and cricket will always stay in my heart, but you have had an immense contribution in my life, so thank you very much.
My cricket for Mumbai started right here on this ground, the Mumbai Cricket Association, which is so dear to me. I remember landing from New Zealand at four o’clock in the morning, and turning up for a game at eight o’clock here, just because I wanted to be a part of Mumbai cricket, and not that somebody forced me or the Mumbai Cricket Association pressurized me to be here. But that was for the love of Mumbai cricket, and thank you very much. The president is here so thank you very much, along with your team, for taking care of me and looking after my cricket.
The dream was obviously to play for India, and that is where my association with BCCI started. BCCI was fantastic, right from my debut believing in my ability, selecting me into the squad at the age of 16 was a big step. So, thanks to all the selectors for having faith in me and the BCCI for giving me the freedom to express myself out in the middle. Things would have been different if you had not been behind me, and I really appreciate your support, especially when I was injured, you were right with me and making sure that all the treatments were taken care of, and that I got fit and fine and playing back for India.
The journey has been special. Last 24 years, I have played with many senior cricketers, and even before that there were many senior cricketers whom I watched on television. They inspired me to play cricket, and to play in the right way. Thanks to all those senior cricketers, and unfortunately I have not been able to play with them, but I have high regards for all their achievements and all their contributions.
We see it on the mega-screen, Rahul, Laxman, Sourav, and Anil, is not here, and my team-mates right here in front me. You are like my family away from home. I have had some wonderful times with you. It is going to be difficult, not to be part of the dressing room, sharing those special moments. All the coaches for their guidance, it has been special for me. I know when MS Dhoni presented me the 200th Test match catch one day one morning. I had a brief message for the team. I would like to repeat that. I just feel that all of us are so, so fortunate and proud to be part of the Indian cricket team, serving the nation.
Knowing all of you guys, I know you will continue to serve the nation in the right spirit and right values. I believe we have been the lucky ones to be chosen by the Almighty to serve this wonderful sport. Each generation gets this opportunity nearly to take care of this sport and serve it to the best of our ability. I have full faith in you that you will to continue to serve the nation in the right spirit to the best of your ability, and bring all the laurels to the country. All the very best.
I would be failing in my duties if I didn’t thank all the doctors, the physios, the trainers, who have put this difficult body together to go back on the field and be able to play. The amount of injuries that I have had in my career, I don’t know how you have managed to keep me fit, but without your special efforts, it would never have happened. The doctors have met me at weird hours. I mean I have called them from Mumbai to Chennai, Mumbai to Delhi, I mean wherever. They have just taken the next flight and left their work and families to be with me, which has allowed me to play. So a big thank you to all three of you for keeping me in good shape.
Sachin Tendulkar and Mark Mascarenhas
My dear friend, late Mark Mascarenhas, my first manager, we unfortunately, we lost him in a car accident in 2001. But he was such a well-wisher of cricket, my cricket, especially Indian cricket. He was so passionate. He understood what it takes to represent a nation and gave me all the space to go out and express myself, and never pressurized me to do this ad or promotion or whatever the sponsors demanded. He took care of that and today I miss him, so thank you Mark for all your contribution.
My current management team, WSG, for repeating what Mark has done, because when I signed the contract I exactly told them what I want from them, and what it
requires to representing me. They have understood that and respected that. So, thank you very much WSG.
Someone who has worked closely with me for 14 years is my manager, Vinod Naidu. He is more like my family and all the sacrifices, spending time away from his family for my work, has been special, so big thank you to your family as well for giving up so much time for my work with Vinod.
In my school days, when I performed well, the media backed me a lot. They continue to do that till this morning. Thank you so much to all the media for supporting me and appreciating my performances. It surely had a positive effect on me. Thank you so much to all the photographers as well for those wonderful captured moments that will stay with me for the rest of my life. So, to all the photographers a big thank.
I know my speech is getting a bit too long, but this is the last thing I want to say. I want to thank all the people here who have flown in from various parts of the world, and have supported me endlessly, whether I scored a zero or a 100-plus, whatever. Your support was so dear to me and meant a lot to me. Whatever you done for me, I know I have met so many guys who have fasted for me, prayed for me, done so much for me. Without all that that life wouldn’t have been like this for me. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart, and also say that time has flown by rather quickly, but the memories that you have left with me will always be with me forever and ever, especially “Sachin, Sachin” that will reverberate in my ears till I stop breathing.
Thank you very much. If I have missed out on saying something, I hope you understand.