There was Don Bradman and then there was Sachin Tendulkar. There's the beginning, the middle and the end of his career but everytime one attempts to write about the Mumbaikar, one doesn't know where to begin. The life and career of the little master is so overwhelming and effortlessly romanticised that words often fail to encompass the glorious days.
When most cricketers painstakingly make their Test debut at the age of 25, Tendulkar had risen to power scoring as many as 16 Test centuries by then. His first hundred came at Old Trafford when he was 17 and there was no looking back ever since, as he piled up one century after another for two long decades to set so many milestones that can easily slip your mind.
He's considered the greatest batsman in the modern era and the greatest always have the greatest of starts [and ends, and inbetweens]. He was 16 when he made his debut against the Imran Khan led Pakistan and Waqar Younis struck him on the mouth. The sight of a young boy fighting his way through in a blood-soaked shirt cannot escape the memory of fans. And the years that followed saw more than 30,000 runs earned with 100 international hundreds - all by a single man.
He is not called the 'God of cricket' for nothing. But, was it just the on field dramatics that gave Tendulkar the aura that led the country worship him? Perhaps, there was more. He was a hero that every child wanted to be. He captured the imagination of the country like no other. His Midas touch didn't limit him to the boundaries of a cricket field, which probably remains the greatest achievement of the man. He continues to inspire individuals across the globe and not just cricketers.
To call his journey incredible is almost understating the grandeur of it all. To call it a Sachin Tendulkar journey alone can do justice to the man he is.
The International Cricket Board has made a short film to celebrate the life and career of the master blaster where former cricketers talk about the Tendulkar phenomena.
Here's the official video released on the 41st Birthday of Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar: