British media lauds Sachin Tendulkar for `perfect farewell`
London: "There has never been a farewell to sport quite like this " -- this was the unanimous view of the British media as it gave a collective round of applause to Indian cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar, who called time on his inspiring international career at the end of his 200th Test.
Tendulkar, immensely popular in this part of the world as well for his exquisite batting, was lauded for remaining extraordinarily humble despite being the most followed cricketer of his generation.
"There has never been a farewell to sport quite like this, one perfectly designed to induce a billion cheers and a billion tears," said `The Daily Telegraph`, referring to the emotional farewell speech that the maestro gave at the end of his journey on Saturday.
"How fitting that Sachin Tendulkar`s last performance on his home cricket field should have been among his very finest, even if it came not with a bat but with a microphone."
The newspaper went on to highlight the 40-year-old`s emotional hold over his millions of his fans, many of whom were moved to tears while listening to the speech, during which Tendulkar also found it hard to keep his composure.
"As all around the Wankhede Stadium eyes were being dabbed, the little man just stood on the grass, transfixing those followers one last time, only for once in silent, emotional thrall as he gave a wonderful speech charting one of sport`s most fantastical careers. `My life, between 22 yards, for 24 years,` as he put it so perfectly," it wrote.
"A full-house was already celebrating that life with delirious acclaim...The crowd had whooped with delight at seeing the first never-ending, moveable guard of honour for a tearful Sachin as the little master`s young teammates kept bouncing alongside him towards the pavilion like gleeful, star-struck kids.
"Yet though his worshippers wanted to honour him, it somehow felt typical of his humility that he only cared about saluting them."
The newspaper lauded Tendulkar for delivering a speech so clear in its message despite the overwhelming emotions surrounding it.
"Beautiful! He had given them their final cue. On this unforgettable Saturday lunchtime in Mumbai, a 32,000-strong chorus once more broke into their incessant signature chant, with `Saaachiiin! Saaachiiin!` rising up so deafeningly that you swore it could be heard all over the land from Kashmir to Kanyakumari," the newspaper said.
"...Guess who remained the model of calm amid the frenzy? On taking the microphone, he had to beg `all my friends, settle down, let me talk, I`ll get more and more emotional` and you feared he could break down. Instead, of course, he was pitch perfect with his tributes.
"...As he disappeared up those pavilion steps one last time, it felt as if India had lost its inspiration, its pleasure dome and its comfort blanket. How could it imagine life without its Sachin?" it asked.
`The Guardian` paid tribute to his 24-year career by saying that he taught a generation of cricketers how to conduct themselves.
"...The game itself mattered little. In a nation defined by crowds, this was all about one man. In an emotional valedictory address, Tendulkar, 40, said what so many across the country felt: `It`s hard to believe my wonderful journey is coming to an end`," it said.
"Tendulkar`s extraordinary talent only partly explains his extraordinary stature in his homeland. His 24-year international career has charted India`s rise. From relatively modest origins in Mumbai, it was practice as much as his prodigious raw ability that brought the diminutive teenager rapid fame.
"...Despite stardom, wealth and success, Tendulkar remained humble, professional and grounded, a self-made man who put in the hours. This, as well as his aggressive domination of international star bowlers, was key to his popularity," it added.
The newspaper noted that Tendulkar became a symbol of unity in a diverse country.
"Tendulkar, adored by all communities in his homeland, represented a vision of unity that many Indians today fear may be imperilled as a divisive election campaign season looms," it said.