Bengaluru, April 14: As the Indian Premier League (IPL) is in its 10th edition this year, some of the moments in the cash-rich Twenty20 tournament are unforgettable. And Mumbai Indians' (MI) great gesture in 2013 has been first in cricket world and special.
IPL was launched in 2008 and since then it has captured the imagination of cricket lovers all over the world. The months of April and May are eagerly awaited as the action unfolds in India.
Looking back, there are several memorable moments from IPL. But what Mumbai did to their iconic player Sachin Tendulkar is highly commendable and unprecedented.
Batting legend Tendulkar has etched his name in the annals of cricket history with numerous records. His batting was a joy to watch and when he walked out to bat, fans thronged to stadiums just to see the Master Blaster.
Tendulkar wore jersey number 10 for Team India and it was the same for him at the Mumbai franchise. Tendulkar was the captain of Mumbai side and after scoring over 2,000 IPL runs, he retired in 2013.
In the same year (2013), Tendulkar bid adieu to international cricket, after playing in his 200th Test, a world record.
As a mark of respect, Mumbai franchise, in 2012, started a campaign to retire the number 10 jersey.
"It's a message that the No. 10 belongs to the master only. When Sachin can do all this in ODIs for us, can't we pay him back in a way no Indian sportsman was ever honoured? Let's #RetireTheJerseyNo10," Mumbai's fans club had written on their Twitter page in 2012 after Tendulkar quit playing One Day Internationals.
"Paltan, tweet with #RetireTheJerseyNo10 and honor the Legend @sachin_rt!," Mumbai's official Twitter handle tweeted in 2012.
The campaign caught the imagination of millions of fans on social media and they too joined in urging the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to retire the jersey.
The tradition of retiring a jersey is unheard of in cricket. It mostly happens in football. But when it comes to Tendulkar, for fans traditions are set aside.
In 2013, Mumbai said they will retire Tendulkar's number 10 jersey. However, there is still no word from BCCI about the same.
"I think it was a befitting tribute to our 'Master' as we call him. Winning the IPL as well as the Champions League T20 in the same season (2013) is a great achievement. It's a very emotional moment for us and we have decided to retire his No. 10 jersey," Mumbai team owner Nita Ambani had said.
Tendulkar featured in 6 editions of IPL, from 2008 to 2013. His best batting effort came in 2010 when he scored 618 runs (a record at the time) to win the "Orange Cap". Same year, he was adjudged the "Best Captain" of the league.
In 2013, as a player, Tendulkar won both IPL and Champions League T20 (CLT20). His last game for Mumbai in the famous number 10 jersey was against Rajasthan Royals (RR) in the CLT20 2013 final at Delhi's Feroz Shah Kotla. Tendulkar made only 15 runs but Mumbai won the title.
Tendulkar continues to be a part of Mumbai outfit as their "icon". He is spotted in the team's dug-out during IPL 2017 matches.
With 10 years of IPL, Tendulkar playing in his iconic jersey number 10 is one of the most celebrated moments.