Sachin Tendulkar: Thanking the 22 yards

Those were the opening lines of Sachin Tendulkar while making his epic retirement speech at the Wankhede Stadium at the end of his 200th and final Test on November 16, 2013. Those words eloquently put in a nutshell the intensity of a man who had given the best part of his 40 years to the game of cricket.

The words may have encapsulated what he and his life stood for nearly two and half years on the international field, but the speech itself was long much like the way he occupied the batting crease. It was a speech that moved the entire nation and even copious tears were shed all over the country.

It was the end of an era. A generation that grew up not knowing what an Indian team without Tendulkar was like, now had to live with that reality.