x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Little Master, great feats

Will Indian cricket ever be the same without Sachin Tendulkar?

A cricketing era will draw to a close next month when Sachin Tendulkar plays his farewell Test match. And for once, an Indian cricket ground – possibly in Tendulkar’s hometown of Mumbai – is sure to draw a full gallery for a five-day match.

Tendulkar may not be the greatest player of all time – the peerless Sir Donald Bradman retains that distinction – but he is undoubtedly the greatest of the modern era.

Consider the statistics: since his debut in 1989 at the age of 16, Tendulkar has scored a monumental 15,837 runs in 198 Tests at an average of 53.86. His 49 centuries in ODI cricket are a record as well.

But numbers tell only half the story of the Little Master, as he is fondly called. Apart from enthralling fans with his swashbuckling style at the crease, he also became an inspiration for an entire generation and has picked up just about every honour in the game.

Equally remarkable was his ability to handle the pressure of the expectations of more than a billion home fans and steadfastly steer clear of controversy, something of a rarity in the modern game.

Will Indian cricket ever be the same without him? Perhaps, but it is unlikely to have such an absorbing story to tell.