Sachin’s retirement signals the end of an era: Shoaib Malik

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Former Pakistan skipper, Shoaib
Malik has always been an ardent
admirer of Sachin Tendulkar.
Having played against him for more
than a decade, Malik is one who
feels the game will be poorer
following Sachin’s retirement.
Paying a heartfelt tribute to the
master, Shoaib speaks about what
Sachin’s retirement means to the
game, to fans in Pakistan and to
him personally. Excerpts from a
conversation with Boria Majumdar.
Boria: What does Sachin’s
retirement mean for world
cricket?
Shoaib: Sachin is already a legend
and his retirement virtually signals
the end of an era in international
cricket. He has been playing the
game at the very highest level for
24 years, which in itself is an
achievement that is unrivalled. And
to play as consistently as he has
done is simply unbelievable. He
has been a real ambassador for the
game in all parts of the world and
as I said his retirement marks the
end of an era.
Boria: What do you think will be
his lasting legacy?
Shoaib: I think he was one of the
few greats who left his mark in all
formats of the game. To be able to
play all the formats with equal
intensity and passion is something
unique. And to have scored
hundreds in all the formats, even
more commendable. Someone who
has scored 100 international
hundreds will forever be
remembered as a very special
player and that is what will be his
lasting legacy.
Boria: How have Pakistani cricket
fans reacted to the news of his
retirement?
Shoaib: Sachin is an extremely
popular figure in all corners of the
cricketing world and Pakistan is no
exception. He will be sorely missed
by the cricket-crazy fans of this
country. He made his international
debut here in Pakistan way back in
1989 and has since played many a
memorable innings on Pakistani
soil. He stamped his class in his
debut series itself and again played
a solid hand for India in 2004.
Fans have always loved him here
and will miss him sorely. Here is a
man who cuts across national
boundaries and demonstrates what
the power of sport is capable of
doing. He is a much loved icon
across the cricketing world and
that in essence is a tribute to what
he has achieved over the years. In
Pakistan, fans have followed his
career very closely and will surely
miss him in the days to come.
Boria: Finally do you think
cricket is poorer without him?
Shoaib: Undoubtedly! Sachin
Tendulkar was a flag bearer of the
game of cricket wherever it was
played. Crowds thronged stadiums
all over the world to watch him
play while bowlers were thrilled to
bag his wicket. He has left his
mark and will be remembered for a
very long time. He was always the
prize wicket for the opposition and
the wicket every bowler wanted to
get. He played the role of India’s
leading batsman for almost a
quarter of a century and there’s
little doubt that he will be missed.
Even in his last Ranji trophy
innings, he played the role of
premier batsman to perfection. To
play a match winning innings in
your last match in first class
cricket is simply incredible. It tells
you about his focus and passion for
the game. More importantly, he
has been a man of impeccable
character, which is what the game
of cricket is all about.

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