x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

One final act to witness

Without Sanchin Tendulkar, cricket will never be the same again.

Yesterday, India stood still for a brief moment when Sachin Tendulkar walked out to bat for his country for what might be the last time. One of the greatest cricketers ever to play the game, he returns to the crease this morning to continue where he left off at stumps last night. No one except perhaps a particularly curmudgeonly West Indies fan, will begrudge him making one last big score in his final Test match.

But forget the score for a moment. Forget the centuries he has made over the course of a glittering career. Forget the victories and defeats.

Instead, consider what makes the Little Master stand so tall in the pages of sporting history. The world of sport has periodically produced transcendental characters like him, who fill stadiums and empty the mind of all thought but the athletic perfection unravelling before their eyes. But few can really rival his enduring impact.

Sport is often cited as a powerful and transformative force. Tendulkar might be the embodiment of that sentiment: when he bats well, when he is playing at his mercurial best, India believes that anything is possible – that it is capable of achieving whatever it wants, whenever it wants. For that reason alone, there will never be another Tendulkar.