He delivered his farewell speech with such emotional conviction that many were left wiping tears but retired batting legend Sachin Tendulkar on Sunday said his only preparation for the stirring address was to remember the “important” names he wanted to mention.
The 20-minute speech, which Tendulkar delivered after his final Test in Mumbai last year, was lauded by one and all for its emotional clarity so much so that the spectators at the Wankhede Stadium and the millions glued to TV sets were left teary-eyed.
Reflecting on it, Tendulkar revealed that he planned on delivering a speech after his penultimate Test on a flight from Kolkata to Mumbai. “I was flying back from Kolkata to Mumbai and then I realised that this is going to be my last match. I was sitting alone and you know I better think of something, think of people I need to mention because before I realise, Mumbai match would also be over and all of a sudden, I would be standing in front of my peers,” Tendulkar said at a promotional event hosted by a leading media group here.
“Then the whole world would be waiting for me to say something. Something, which I didn`t want to do was to miss out on any name, any important name that I wanted to mention. “It was a special moment for me. I mentioned all the names and rest of the things came from my heart. I knew I would get emotional and hence for safety, I was carrying a bottle of water as well which kept me going. But those things you cannot script. It’s the Almighty’s wish. Everything went off much much better than what I had expected,” he added. The 40-year-old said the love and affection he received from his fans after announcing his retirement left him feeling “unreal”.
“The love and affection which I received over a period when I announced my retirement was unreal. I had never seen anything like that. The way people greeted me, it was a special moment and something which goes beyond what I couldn`t express. Coming back to my longest speech ever, it wasn`t rehearsed and just came from my heart,” he said.
Asked about his plans to return to the game in some capacity, Tendulkar said, “I have just retired. I can`t start thinking of coming back again.”
The former India captain said he was enjoying his life post retirement and has played cricket at home with his 14-year-old son Arjun. “I am enjoying my life after retirement. I haven`t played cricket…Just a couple of times with my son Arjun and his school friends in the house itself. Other than that, I have not played cricket but with this big bat and wagon wheel, I am tempted to have a go,” he said referring to the large steel bat which has been unveiled as a monument near his residence on the Carter Road Promenade.
The steel bat stands more than 25 feet high and weighs over two tonnes. The “Bat of Honour” is crafted out of stainless steel – and Tendulkar`s emotional farewell speech has also been etched on a plaque below the installation. Describing the structure, Tendulkar said, “It`s a two tonne bat, so you can imagine how much effort it has taken for the curator to put this together. The gap in between, the colour is blue because I played for India and India has blue colour `bleed blue`. So this is what the idea was, his thought was. And the wagon wheel, all these things are special. To have this mega structure, it`s really heartwarming.”