Sachin Tendulkar an icon of emerging India: Shashi Tharoor

Sachin Tendulkar retired from Test cricket as the highest run-getter and century-maker © IANS

London: Nov 16, 2013

Batting genius Sachin Tendulkar has redefined the terms in which Indian cricket will now be seen, according to Congress MP Shashi Tharoor.

As the Master Blaster walked off the pitch in tears after playing his last Test at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium on Saturday, the Minister of State for Human Resource Development reflected on how Tendulkar’s career highs are reflective of India as a whole in a column for the ‘BBC‘.

“Tendulkar was the icon of emerging India, a nation finally showing its potential on the world stage. He departs from an India that has fully emerged,” he said.

“Tendulkar earned India the right to be thought of as world-beaters; today’s young batsmen take that for granted, approaching the rest of the world with a buccaneering swagger that his earlier triumphs have made possible,” he added.

Comparing Tendulkar’s exit from the cricket pitch to that of Jawaharlal Nehru’s departure as India’s first Prime Minister, the senior politician struck an optimistic note.

“Nehru had been India’s Prime Minister for 17 years before his ill-health and demise; Tendulkar was India’s batting mainstay for 24 years before announcing his departure.

“But Tendulkar is finally leaving the cricket after his 200th Test match, and it is time to face the reality of life after Sachin. And this, somewhat to our surprise, seems to be not quite so bad after all,” he said.

“Suddenly Tendulkar no longer looks irreplaceable. If anything, the Tendulkar of today pales by comparison with the rampant 20-somethings around him. What is more, if Tendulkar triumphed amid adversity, conquering the world from a position of weakness and carrying a modest side on his shoulders, his successors dominate from a position of strength,” he said.

The Little Master, as Tendulkar is fondly referred to, went into retirement after 24 years with a final innings of 74 against the West Indies.

Tendulkar has already retired from limited overs cricket and Indian cricket fans have been struggling to cope with his farewell.

“Thanks to his extraordinary achievements, he has raised the bar for all who have followed him. He came in when a heroic defeat was more common than a blazing triumph. He leaves having made winning the new normal. That is the transformation brought by the Tendulkar era.

“After him, Indian cricket will never be the same again,” Tharoor concluded.

Minister for Information and Broadcasting Manish Tewari said in New Delhi that this match was quite special for India because Tendulkar is not just a great batsman but also a very good human being.

“The way he has demonstrated his skill on the field, [I hope] he will come forward in public sphere and do the same,” he said.