As far as open letters go, you are better off ignoring this and reading Sidvee here.
I love you. From the outset, let me proclaim this unabashed, unending and deepest love for you as a person and a sportsman that may be bordering on embarrassment. But this is hardly the day for such petty concerns.
This is tough. It is tough because we witnessed your greatness develop in flesh and blood. We lived through these glorious sixteen years absolutely self-aware. I was four when Sachin made his debut. Hardly the age to discern the magnitude of anything other than a plastic cricket bat. But I was eleven when you made that 95 at Lord’s. We grew up with you as kids, teenagers and college goers. Your legendary stature grew as we watched. You made your debut when I started in a new school in a new city. You hit the winning runs in Adelaide when I started in a new college. You won a series in England as the captain when I stepped into a new school in a new country – this one quite literally. And a couple of months ago I witnessed your last half century inside the MCG.
It was a bit anachronistic that when you hit those runs in Australia in 2003, I heard them on a radio. Remembering the stories about how the radio was the constant companion of cricket fans during my father’s and grandfather’s time, it made me chuckle. That one way it is probably fitting to listen on a radio, the feats of the last textbook Test batsman. No matter today’s commentary standards. The solid defense. The well thought out leaves. The punishing of bad balls. The respect meted out to the good ones. The cuts and the drives. The flicks off the toes. There is none as clean as you in world sport that the full length of Rudyard Kipling’s “If” could be attributed to.
More than anything else, you ushered in India’s greatest decade in international cricket, didn’t you? A younger generation before ours had only painful defeats and humiliation to remember, with only one silver lining provided by an individual. Your gritty time in the middle redefined that aspect for us. You brought in the hitherto unseen and unheard of glories. The team prospered with you and you with the team. Yes, other huge legends immensely contributed to this but when we make a stamp out of it, it will have your face on it, don’t you think? You are the brand ambassador of that decade.
Now, full one hour after the press conference, I feel empty. I am not even going to check language or read this a second time. This just blows. It’s an enormous void that you leave behind. In our hearts, minds and the cricketing fields.
So long and thanks for everything.