Cricket may not be too big a sport in this part of the world but leading US publications have nonetheless paid tribute to retiring Indian superstar Sachin Tendulkar, applauding the veteran batsman for his "supreme" talent and a career lived with soft-spoken integrity and humility.
"This week, for more than a billion people, the world as they know it effectively comes to an end. The second Test match between India and the West Indies ...will be the last international appearance of one Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar," a Wall Street Journal article titled 'Farewell to Cricket's Little Master' said.
An op-ed in the 'New York Times' likened Tendulkar's retirement from cricket to the death of Mahatma Gandhi.
"As the moment of his (Tendulkar's) departure looms, the country is in the fevered throes of one last, mammoth celebration, but also on the un-self-conscious brink of mourning," the NYT op-ed piece titled 'Where the Gods Live On and On' said.
The 'Time' magazine put out a special online feature highlighting Tendulkar's 10 greatest moments, including his 664-run unbroken partnership with fellow cricketer Vinod Kambli in 1988, becoming the captain of the Indian team in 1996 at age 23, surpassing Caribbean great Brian Lara to become the highest run scorer in Test history in 2008 and the 2011 World Cup win.
Tendulkar has cemented his place in history as one of the greatest sportsmen and holds almost every batting record in the game. His last Test match against West Indies will be his 200th,. He scored over 15,000 Test runs, 18,000-plus one-day international runs, 51 Test centuries and 100 international centuries.
"Those figures will almost certainly never be surpassed, simply because of the sheer unlikelihood of a player breaking into an international side aged 16, staying in it until the age of 40, and spending almost all of the intervening period at the very top of his game," the WSJ article said.
The NYT op-ed said it would be "entirely accurate" to describe Tendulkar as the most revered contemporary Indian, "or even, with only a pinch of hyperbole, the most revered Indian since Mahatma Gandhi held the nation in thrall. Suspend your disbelief and think of him as a cross between Babe Ruth and Martin Luther King."
The NYT op-ed said Tendulkar has built his reputation not just on "supreme batsmanship" but also on his "unwavering modesty, impeccable manners and an evident pleasure in being part of (and never greater than) the team