Perhaps a flight back to the UAE next day, but no 6 a.m. training alarm, no restrictions on the glucometre. A dad will be at home to his kids’ delight, a husband’s presence warming the wife’s heart and a son won’t miss touching his mother’s feet. Sachin Tendulkar, perhaps for the first time in the last quarter of a century, will celebrate his birthday, 41st, available entirely and solely to his loved ones – without any asterisk.
Vacations, wild life safaris, buying football and tennis teams and a return back to his IPL team Mumbai Indians’ dugout kept India’s most celebrated cricketer in the news since he hung his bat on November 16 last year. It ended a global two-week cricket festival that saw curtains coming down on a career that may remain unmatched in the game’s history.
The birthday will also be the first for Sachin the Bharat Ratna, which was bestowed upon him immediately after his retirement last year, making him the only sportsperson so far to get India’s highest civilian award. And it will also be the first for the Cricketer of the Generation – a recognition Sachin earned at the ESPNCricinfo awards recently.
The last six Tendulkar-less months on the cricket field haven’t missed the master off it, with the legendary batsman remaining involved with cricket in particular and sports in general. While Sachin threw his weight behind organisation of more Test matches, he came forward to buy the Kochi football franchise in the much-talked-about Indian Super League (ISL), in which Sourav Ganguly and many Bollywood stars also own franchises.
“I will always remain a sportsman at heart who is keen to positively impact the sporting fabric of the nation,” Tendulkar said after winning the ISL bid. And that’s what India can expect, for age is just a number for Tendulkar – an ex-cricketer but a perpetual sportsperson and patriot.
Happy Birthday, Sachin.