Sachin Tendulkar a legend of the game

WHERE were you when man first stepped on the moon? How about when JFK was assassinated? Or when Don Bradman played his final Test?

In time Sachin Tendulkar's retirement could well be placed in the same basket of memorable historic moments.

For the record, since my own cricket game had been washed out, I was taking shelter in the Coutts Tavern as the Indian legend strode off the Mumbai pitch in his wide-brimmed hat for the last time. The Little Master retired after his 200th Test with 15,921 runs at an average of 53.78.

He has departed as one of the most respected sportsmen of all time. But it's not just his onfield heroics that will leave an indelible mark on the game. It is the enviable humility with which he has carried himself throughout almost quarter of a century representing his nation.

Interestingly, had he followed Don Bradman's lead and failed to score in his final Test, Tendulkar would've finished with 15,847 runs, which happens to be India's Independence Day - 15th of August, 1947.

Could that have been a sign of things to come for a man who was a unifying force in a diverse country of over a billion people?

Instead, he wrote his own script. He didn't clock 16,000 Test runs, there was nothing extraordinary about his last innings, just a typically solid 74 compiled by several signature top-drawer strokes. Like the man himself, understated.

I first started playing cricket in 1990 - a few months after Tendulkar made his international debut aged 16. Like the majority of people still playing the game, his greatness has been a permanent part of the furniture that decorates my perception of the cricket world.

His final bow represents an irreplaceable void on the present day - and from this day forth serve to enrich the annals of history.

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