04 March, 2021

In One Autumnal Face

A career’s end is also a requiem for our years locked in sunlit greens

Reuters (From Outlook 17 December 2012)
In One Autumnal Face

Rahul Dravid is gone, V.V.S. Laxman too, and now Ricky Ponting has joined them in the arena outside the stadium called ‘real life’. Mahela Jayawardene speaks of making way for a youngster, and he is only 35. Send not to know for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for us. Retirements are reminders of our own mortality.

A sporting career does not exist in a vaccum. It needs fans to complete it—the yin to the onfield yang. Fans who measure their lives in goals scored and runs made by the great players have to readjust their sights when these names leave the scene. More, they are made acutely conscious of a significant portion of their own lifetime being enshrined as history. The cliche ‘end of an era’ applies not just to the impact of the recently retired; it speaks for the millions who will never see a favourite in action again.

This is a painful period for fans of the modern greats. Jacques Kallis, 37, must be having private chats with himself. And what of Sachin Tendulkar, set to turn 40 in four months, by which time he will have been...

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