Tanay Sukumar, November 28, 2009
(This story is set in the future.)
Trivia: This is the first story ever published by News That Matters Not. It was published on the author’s personal blog on Nov 28, 2009, and a week later, was migrated to what became one of the premier news satire websites during 2010–2014.
Context: Indian cricket star Sachin Tendulkar had not retired when this piece was written. (He retired from international cricket in 2012.) The interview in this piece is set in the year 2029, assuming Tendulkar has still not retired.
Sachin Tendulkar in an exclusive chat with NTMN on completing 40 years in cricket
November 15, 2029, Mumbai.
Recently knighted Sir Sachin Tendulkar, not only India’s best batsman but also of world cricket (and now universal cricket), has completed his 40 years in cricket today. Unlike what happened on the 20th and 30th anniversary celebrations, Tendulkar has not been able to give any interviews to the media on this accomplishment due to the tight cricketing schedule, but News That Matters Not, managed to have a chat with the “Endless Master” (formerly the “Little Master”) during the tea-time on Day Four of the ongoing Test between the ICC-Earth XI and the ICC-Moon XI.
NTMN: Sachin, many many congratulations on behalf of the NTMN team and the whole of India on completing four long decades in cricket.
Sir Sachin Tendulkar: Thanks a lot. But please make it fast, I need to take the field after tea, just 5 minutes.
NTMN: Okay, don’t worry sir. But how does it feel to have been playing a sport for such a long time? How has the tag of “Endless Master” replacing “Little Master” affected you personally?
ST: Oh it’s been a great journey. The word Master is overwhelming, but I feel Little was a more lovely adjective.
NTMN: But you aren’t little anymore! I see you turning 56 this April, and you are by far the oldest playing cricketer in the…
ST: But I am enjoying my game, and I love the idea of playing for my country. I believe I still have a lot of cricket left in me.
NTMN: Do you see yourself playing in World Cup 2031 in Antarctica?
ST: Oh why not? Moreover, it will be great to have such a big cricket event in Antarctica, now that they have such a large cricket-loving population there…. it will certainly be a relief to play in 15 degree temperatures, now that it’s gone to 55-60 degrees everywhere else!
NTMN: What do you have to say about the change in the game over the last 40 years?
ST: The game has obviously undergone huge changes… we have just 1 day gaps in between consecutive Tests, and playing 15-match T20 series in 6 days… it’s really testing. The robot umpires ICC introduced have been giving correct lbw decisions for 5 years now… the One1 format has made the game shorter than ever.
NTMN: How do you maintain such high levels of fitness… playing at the age of 56 is really amazing!
ST: Oh yes. You get used to it… there have been serious injuries no doubt but I always remained focussed… the basketball elbow injury that kept me out for 5 years really made me tense, but I was happy to be back on the field for the 2023 World Cup.
NTMN: I see you are in a hurry… but don’t worry they can put up a substitute fielder instead of you. Let’s talk about family and friends… how do you look at their role behind such a long career? Your son plays with you in the national team…
ST: Family has played a huge part. Anjali keeps me motivated… good to see my son as part of the Indian team and to share the dressing room with him.
NTMN: What do you say about Vinod Kambli’s latest comment about you as a friend in the 18th season of Sach Ka Saamna?
ST: Vinod is a very dear friend… but I can’t really help him play anymore, he is nearing the age of 60, isn’t he…
NTMN: 49682 Test runs, over 60000 ODI runs, 195 international centuries…. where do you see yourself end up with when you retire? And is there anything you haven’t accomplished yet as a player?
ST: I have a lot of cricket left … let’s see where I end up with! My wish remains to win the World Cup for India… it was sad I wasn’t on the Indian team that won the Cup in 2019 due to injury, but I surely want to play in 2031.
NTMN: What after cricket, … after retirement? Your former teammates Dravid, MS Dhoni, Pragyan Ojha, Munaf Patel, to name a few – are commentators now after long illustrious careers.
ST: No commentating for me… a TV channel CEO told me my voice is not loud enough for effective commentating (laughs loudly).
NTMN: The most memorable moment in these 40 years?
ST: Getting the 100th Test century, being on the spaceship to the Moon for the first-ever cricket match there, and launching my ice statue in Madame Lissaud’s.
NTMN: Once again, congratulations for this feat. May the Indians see more of the Endless Master in the years to come. You may go and play now. All the best.
ST: Thanks a lot.