Fan tribute

The boy from Neverland

October 26, 2013

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Sachin Tendulkar poses with a bat ahead of his first international tour, to Pakistan, October 1, 1989
Tendulkar: part of a million childhoods © Getty Images

What has your relationship with Sachin Tendulkar been like? Did you start playing cricket just as he broke into the national team? Did his failures hurt you like your own would? How did you feel when watching him play? Many great players touch the lives of fans in special ways, but Tendulkar surpasses them in the number of fans he was able to convert. ESPNcricinfo reader Rajan Thambehalli writes about the instant connection he felt with a young Tendulkar and how the bond grew stronger. He writes in the Inbox:

Outside of my family, Tendulkar has been a constant throughout my life and now that connection is on its way to breaking. He gave me immense joy, and occasionally the source of my tears. He made me go mad. He frustrated and inspired me. He made me a thinker, made me a believer and even gave me the confidence to go after my dreams.

Who is Tendulkar? God? No. Demi-god? No. Superhuman with magical powers? No. An ordinary human beingwith extreme talent. Not quite. To me he is a kid who managed to extend his childhood beyond its definition....

My association with cricket started with Tendulkar and with his retirement, a big chunk of my childhood is lost. That void will be replaced by my memories of him as I move on with life, remembering the times when I did everything I could to just watch Tendulkar play.

Features

The man whom cricket loved back

Sambit Bal: Tendulkar was the biggest worshipper the game could ever find, and in that lay the foundation of his greatness

Tendulkar's perfect balance

Sharda Ugra: While the team, the country and the sport changed around him, Tendulkar remained constant

Why do we insist on seeing the 'real' Sachin?

Rahul Bose: You can ask as much as you want for a more "human", more "feelable, touchable" Sachin, but he'll probably not change - and that's a good thing

Zaltz Stats

550,000,000
The approximate number of people in India today who had not been born when Sachin Tendulkar made his Test debut in 1989 (calculated from these figures). His batting has been so erotically outstanding that the global population has increased by almost 2 billion during his career, with the biggest increase, understandably, in India itself.

I have played cricket for 24 years, it has been only 24 hours since retirement, and I think I should get at least 24 days to relax before deciding these things.

Sachin Tendulkar doesn't want to think of what lies ahead just yet