Sachin: What Next?

22/10/2013 15:07 BST | Updated 23/01/2014 23:58 GMT

It's not just cricket-obsessed India that will be in mourning when master batsman Sachin Tendulkar calls time on his legendary career next month...

If you think Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard are big names in England, go to India. You'll be hard pushed to find anyone stretching across his homeland from New Dehli to Bangalore who has a bad word to say about the man dubbed 'Mr India', such is Tendulkar's God-like status in the country where cricket is something of a religion.

It's quite hard to imagine such a universally respected man as Sachin Tendulkar, but the man widely regarded as the greatest batsman in the game has managed to win friends wherever he's gone with his easy-going, friendly manner.

No wonder then, that the news that he would retire after his 200th test match against the West Indies was met with such a mixture of dismay and admiration.

The message from the Indian media is loud and clear: "Be proud to say that you lived in the times of Sachin Tendulkar but accept that his era is coming to an end."

However, keeping this calm about cricket and Sachin is not something that happens in India, reflected in The Hindustan Times's front-page headline: "There will never be another you", it screamed.

So is all this fuss over one man justified?

In 1992, at the tender age of 19, Tendulkar was already making global news headlines, becoming the first foreign player to represent Yorkshire at county level, at a time when players from other English counties were not even accepted. The young Tendulkar went on to score 1,070 runs in 16 Championship Games for the famous cricketing county, just the first of many impressive scores 'Master Blaster' would go on to rack up during his tenure.

It has been widely remarked that this short spell in English cricket has helped enormously to keep the 40-year-old stay so modest, which is quite incredible when taking into account how talented and adored he is.

Meanwhile, back home in India, cricket fans had already started to wake up to the 'Little Master'...

Aged 16 years and 223 days, a relatively unheard of batsman called Sachin Tendulkar made his test debut against Pakistan in Karachi in 1989. He made just 15 runs before being bowled by Waqar Younis, and was remembered not for his excellent batting which would become a Tendulkar trademark, but for taking numerous body-shots during his innings.

Back in the present, whilst many may remember his international debut, it is certainly not spoken about often, and there's no reason why it should be, with an incredible list of national and sporting awards to his name as well as his mountains of runs both domestically and internationally, which are unlikely to ever be bettered.

Tendulkar's entry into world cricket was hyped-up by many an Indian cricket star of the time, and although he had a stinker on his test debut, his consistent performances were soon steadily earning the Bombay-born star worldwide admiration which would soon turn into him becoming the most worshipped cricketer in the world. One Sachin fan was so distressed when he failed to reach his 100th century during the 2011 World Cup final against Sri Lanka that he hanged himself, despite the fact India won the match and the cup.

The number of cute little anecdotes that are in circulation about the great man are countless, adding to his hero status. Some are true, such as a young Sachin asking his friend to dip a cricket ball in water and bowl to him so he would know if he was striking it with the middle of his bat. Some are partially correct, while some are absolutely outrageous; seemingly everyone has a story about Sachin. Perhaps the most relevant to his retirement is that his wheelchair-bound mother Rajni will amazingly be seeing her world-famous son play cricket live for the first time.

Tendulkar's retirement is noticeably symmetrical; it was at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai where he made his first-class debut as a 15-year-old in 1988, making the first of 142 professional centuries he would later score, and it is where he will wrap up his glittering career in front of an adoring crowd.

Although the country of India will be understandably distraught, it's not like Tendulkar is disappearing off the face of the planet, an interesting notion is to what the God-like slogger will do with himself after he puts down his bat for the final time. Will he go into coaching? Who wouldn't want to be coached by Sachin Tendulkar? Alternatively, is there any broadcaster out there who would turn down the articulate Sachin to commentate on test cricket? Would Tendulkar turn to politics? It goes without saying that he's more popular in his home country than every single politician; surely he'd absolutely storm an election? Or will the great one just dedicate the rest of his time to his family?

There are so many questions to be answered, and the cricketing world will be eagle-eyed as to where Sachin Tendulkar will end up now he's retiring, but one thing's for sure, cricket as we know it will not be the same without him.