I am not sure how many such letters you would have received over your lifetime, but if I had to guess, I would say too many. And if I had to guess how many of them have been read by you, I would say none. However, I cannot let that discourage me. I believe my cause (let's face it, if there was no cause, there would be no letter), selfish though it may sound at the outset, has the potential to change the way the people of our country live.
I am not writing to tell you anything about your retirement or about how you should play more or play longer. I am not writing to ask you what is your next milestone. I am not writing to even mention cricket. Except that one mention here. You are the greatest sportsperson that our country has ever produced. I am not referring to talent, or your achievements. You are the greatest ever, only because no other sportsperson has managed to be an ambassador for India as you have. You are feared, respected, loved, adored, cheered and booed all at the same time, with the same intensity anywhere on this planet. The fact that the entire planet has Indians in all parts might have something to do with it should be ignored. The sport and your fellow citizens have given you a lot. We have made you what you are. Now that you are contemplating the removal of that irritating abdomen guard (I understand) for good, I believe it is the perfect time for me to make a plea.
The joy that we have got from looking at you doing what anyone does best is unparalleled. We Indians have now got used to watching the best in the world showcase their talent in our land. It is a habit that is extremely difficult to get out of. But you are aging, beautifully, but aging nevertheless. Given the fact that you owe a lot to us, it is now your turn to pay back. We don't want any part of your hard earned, and deservedly so, income. Over the years, you have made a lot of friends across the world. Each one of them achievers in their own right. Some of them the best in their business. These men/women respect you as much as you respect them. Coming straight to the point, I request you to convince them to showcase their talent in India.
Imagine Roger Federed vs Rafael Nadal in Chennai. Imagine Kobe Bryant dunking in Bangalore. Imagine Cristiano Ronaldo vs Messi in Mumbai. Imagine Formula 1 cars screaming across a track in Delhi. Ok, you don't need to imagine that. Money makes money they say. But I don't know how much money can be made out of this. I am sure lots. I can help you find out if you ask me to. And I can find others who will too. None of them would do it just for the money. They all have enough of it. What we need more than money, is give these champions a reason. And I am not talking about them dribbling balls or dunking them for 20 minutes. I am talking about them showing us how competitive they are. I am talking about them having at least a few full blown matches. I know it is not impossible for you. And your sponsors.
I know none of them will ever ply their trade in India. They shouldn't. We can't manage that. But recent events have shown that if these professionals land, we will keep the stands full. I don't know of any other Indian who can do this. And very soon, you will have the time to do this as well. I request you. I plead you, to please give this a serious thought. For us. For India.
With highest regards,