Skip to main content

Sachin Tendulkar: Tearful farewell of India's 'Little Master'

By Peter Shadbolt, CNN
November 18, 2013 -- Updated 0101 GMT (0901 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Sachin Tendulkar makes tearful farewell to cricket Saturday
  • The legendary Indian batsman is one of the greatest cricketers of all time
  • An icon in India, his net worth is estimated to be in the region of $160 million
  • Tendulkar was playing his 200th Test match as India beat West Indies

(CNN) -- Every sport has its gods.

In boxing it's Muhammad Ali, in soccer it's Brazil's Pele and in basketball it's Michael Jordan, but this week India, already a country with no shortage of deities, paid homage to cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar.

The 40-year-old's final bow as a professional cricketer came Saturday as India completed an innings and 186 run victory over the West Indies on his home Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.

Tendulkar's part in the proceedings on the final day amounted to a couple of overs of bowling, cheered to the rafters by a packed stadium, which could have sold out 10 times over.

After the final West Indies wicket fell, a tearful Tendulkar held court with an emotional speech in which he thanked everyone who had supported him, particularly his father, who passed away in 1999.

Sachin Tendulkar makes cricket history
India's 'God of cricket' popularity

"Without his guidance I don't think I would be standing in front of you," he said.

Tributes also followed for his mother, his wife Anjali and their two children before he turned his attention to his fanatical following in India.

"I know there are so many guys who've fasted for me, prayed for me, done all sorts of things for me. Without all that life wouldn't have been like this for me," he said.

"I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart and say that time has gone by rather quickly, but the memories that you've left with me will always be with me forever and ever."

Many in the crowd were left in tears and they roared out his name in approval, grateful for his incredible career which saw him become the first man to score 100 international centuries.

A further century proved out of Tendulkar's reach in his final Test, dismissed for 74 Friday as India took command of a match they wrapped up the next day to win the series 2-0.

Our god

But his fans will forgive him this relative "failure" because Tendulkar is not just a sports star, but also an icon in a country of more than 1.2 billion people.

His fans often wave placards at matches that read, "Cricket is my religion and Sachin is my God." Himself a devout Hindu, the diminutive 5-feet 5-inch all-rounder was well-known throughout his career as a modest superstar who never lost his cool either at the batting crease or in front of the cameras and fans.

READ: Indian cricket legend Tendulkar announces retirement

Sachin Tendulkar will end his record-breaking cricket career following his 200th Test match, against the West Indies in his home city of Mumbai. Sachin Tendulkar will end his record-breaking cricket career following his 200th Test match, against the West Indies in his home city of Mumbai.
The end of an era
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
>
>>
Sachin Tendulkar retires from cricket Sachin Tendulkar retires from cricket
Imran Khan says Tendulkar should retire

Former India captain Rahul Dravid told CNN that Tendulkar would be remembered as "the benchmark" against which all the nation's cricketers measured themselves.

In a game where 100 runs -- or a century -- is regarded as the high-water mark of batting achievement in any match at any level, Tendulkar last year reached 100 hundreds at international level and now holds almost all coveted batting records except for cricket legend Don Bradman's career average of 99.94 runs.

Even "The Don" as he is known in Australia -- the cricketing prodigy of the 1930s and '40s who was still alive when Tendulkar made his Test debut in 1989 -- once remarked on the Little Master's prodigious talent.

"I saw him playing on the television and I was very, very struck by his technique. I asked my wife to come and have a look at him. Because, I said, I never saw myself play, but I feel that this feller is playing much the same as I used to play ... It was just his compactness, his stroke production, his technique, it all seemed to gel as far as I was concerned," Bradman told reporters.

Completing his stellar career, Tendulkar scored 15,921 runs in 200 Test matches at an average of 53.78 each innings, and 18,426 runs in 463 one-day international matches at 44.83 each time at bat.

Shane Warne -- the famous Australian leg spin bowler and another of Bradman's favorite contemporary cricketers -- rated him the greatest player of the modern game.

"Sachin Tendulkar is, in my time, the best player without a doubt -- daylight second, Brian Lara third," said Warne, who said of the Indian that it was "a pleasure bowling to him."

True sportsman

Australian cricket commentator Gideon Haigh said Tendulkar was well-known for his grace under pressure in a sport better known in modern times for its towering egos.

"Certainly, he has left a strong imprint on his cricket contemporaries," Haigh wrote in The Australian newspaper. "They knew him, for example, for never throwing his bat after a dismissal; he would sit down in the dressing room, reflect, but never brood."

In India, his popularity has reached beyond cricket's stadiums and -- with a career unsullied by controversy or scandal -- he has become a marketer's dream.

Sachin Tendulkar is, in my time, the best player without a doubt - daylight second, Brian Lara third
Shane Warne

With a net worth of about $160 million from endorsements, property and cricket earnings, according to Singapore-based Wealth X, Tendulkar is cricket's richest player and the country's biggest icon.

Walk into any shopping mall in India, and there's a good chance you will see Tendulkar on a poster or a billboard. He endorses 17 products including Canon, Visa and Adidas.

Canon has spent $50 million on advertising over the past five years -- and half of that on Tendulkar alone.

"It has worked phenomenally," Canon India's senior vice president Alok Bharadwaj told CNN. "We notice that the awareness of our brand is improving and since people respect him a lot there's almost a subtle admission that if Sachin is saying it, then it has to be true."

Tendulkar is known to be choosey about what he endorses and will not, for instance, put his name to alcohol, despite large offers from corporations

Despite his commercial success, the "Little Master" says it's always been about the cricket.

"The fact was that it was all happening because of cricket and my focus always stayed on cricket, the rest of these things happened around cricket and even today cricket is the focal point, cricket is the ultimate thing for me ... it's that simple," he told CNN in an interview in 2008.

CNN's Gary Morley also contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
May 7, 2014 -- Updated 1637 GMT (0037 HKT)
Photography can really pack a punch. Catch up with all the best shots from around the world with our weekly sports gallery.
May 7, 2014 -- Updated 1200 GMT (2000 HKT)
Of course not. But former Fulham owner Mohamed Al Fayed seems to think the removal of Michael Jackson's statue was a very "bad" idea.
May 7, 2014 -- Updated 1636 GMT (0036 HKT)
Second-tier French side Clermont Foot appoint Helena Costa -- the country's first ever professional female coach of a male team.
April 28, 2014 -- Updated 1513 GMT (2313 HKT)
San Francisco 49ers owner and co-chairman John York speaks to CNN about Michael Sam and the upcoming NFL Draft.
April 25, 2014 -- Updated 1733 GMT (0133 HKT)
The All Blacks and their fans are focused on one thing, says Dan Carter: becoming the first rugby nation to win back-to-back World Cups.
April 4, 2014 -- Updated 1308 GMT (2108 HKT)
The 2002 bomb attacks in Bali had many victims -- including a touring rugby team from Hong Kong.
Photographer Danny Lyon spent three days with Muhammad Ali in 1972 and shares his best photos and memories of the champ.
February 25, 2014 -- Updated 1254 GMT (2054 HKT)
With a growing audience boosted by the drama of ice hockey on show in Sochi at the Winter Olympics, can the sport capitalize on its popularity?
January 20, 2014 -- Updated 1125 GMT (1925 HKT)
Her paintings may sell for thousands of dollars, but she is best known for a modeling shot 50 years ago that helped launch a business empire.
January 9, 2014 -- Updated 1701 GMT (0101 HKT)
When the eye of the storm closes in most people head home -- but for these surfers it's a different story.
January 6, 2014 -- Updated 1445 GMT (2245 HKT)
Gareth Evans is a school teacher in South Africa. In 1983, he attended a "rebel tour" cricket match against the West Indies.
December 17, 2013 -- Updated 1507 GMT (2307 HKT)
In the wake of protests in his native Ukraine, heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko has turned his back on boxing to focus on his political ambitions.
August 9, 2013 -- Updated 0920 GMT (1720 HKT)
Former pole vaulter Sergei Bubka is running to be president of the International Olympic Committee.
The Olympics must use its global reach and immense popularity to help save a generation, says sporting icon Sergei Bubka.
August 7, 2013 -- Updated 1632 GMT (0032 HKT)
CNN's Fred Pleitgen exposes a history of German government-funded doping throughout the Cold War.
April 9, 2013 -- Updated 1628 GMT (0028 HKT)
A competitor crosses the erg Znaigui during the second stage of the 26rd edition of the 'Marathon des Sables', on April 4, 2011, some 300 Kilometers, South of Ouarzazate in Morocco. The marathon is considered one of the hardest in the world, with 900 participants having to walk 250 kms (150 miles) for seven days in the Moroccan Sahara.
A six-day run that covers more than 220 km through the scorching heat of the Sahara desert has been billed as the "World's toughest race."
April 10, 2013 -- Updated 1149 GMT (1949 HKT)
He plays the only sport approved by the Taliban, a game he learned as a war refugee in Pakistan.
ADVERTISEMENT