No perfect ending for ODI greats

More than one great will tell you that what they miss most is not the runs or the glory, but the feeling of being out there on a summer's day, the breeze teasing your flannels as the bat's sweet spot connects with the ball and sends it speeding to another time and space.

updated: December 27, 2012 13:46 IST
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"What you end up remembering isn't always the same as what you have witnessed," writes Julian Barnes in The Sense of an Ending. Those that love cricket, and who have witnessed their heroes fade away, can relate to that sentiment. Years from now, when you think of Sachin Tendulkar's last act in India's limited-overs kit, will your final memories be of the Asia Cup, where he made the 100th hundred and then a half-century against Pakistan? Or would you rather think of an April night in Mumbai a year earlier, and a dream that had finally come true after more than two decades?

One-day cricket has not indulged its finest batsmen when it comes to the final curtain. Think of the greatest of them, who averaged 47 and scored at 90 runs every 100 balls at a time when a strike-rate of 60 was considered rapid. Viv Richards played his final ODI at Lord's in 1991, 12 years on from illuminating a World Cup final there in the company of Collis King. He made 37 from 57 as West Indies lost.

A couple of days earlier, Gordon Greenidge, who averaged 45 and matched Richards' 11 hundreds, had left the game limping. A knee injury ended his tour and career, and he was run out for four in his final innings. The greatest opener of his time signed off while batting at No.8.

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