New Dehli – India turned nostalgic with news of Sachin Tendulkar's looming retirement and the sentiment was reflected in the national media as it highlighted his glorious 24-year international cricket career.
Newspapers paid flowing tributes on their front pages, continuing the odes by news channels, which began running special features on Tendulkar immediately after his announcement on Thursday that he will retire next month.
“There will never be another you” ran a banner headline on the front page of the Hindustan Times while The Indian Express carried a huge silhouetted picture of Tendulkar walking into the sunset, headlined “The Void.”
The Times of India had a collage of pictures from Tendulkar's childhood and teenage days mingled with its masthead and its main story was headlined “God Bye” since he is often referred to as the “God of Cricket” in this part of the world.
All newspapers carried reactions and quotes from the cricket fraternity as well as lengthy articles listing the achievements of the “Little Master” since he became the youngest Indian test cricketer at the age of 16.
The 40-year-old Tendulkar, who will retire after a record 200th test during next month's home series against West Indies, is the most prolific scorer in international cricket with 15,837 runs in 198 tests and 18,426 runs in 463 one-day internationals.
Tendulkar, who has already retired from limited-overs internationals, is the only batsman to score 100 international centuries with 51 in tests and 49 in ODIs. He was also the first batsman to score a double-century in ODIs when he made 200 not out against South Africa at Gwalior in 2010.
News channels also ran reactions from the public both on camera and via Twitter while the morning radio shows poured in accolades on Tendulkar, whose retirement announcement had looked imminent but was a surprise as it came far ahead of the West Indies series.
“Congrats to my good friend Sachin on what can only be described as an amazing career!” tweeted former Australia legspinner Shane Warne. “I wish you & your family all the best in the future. Was a privilege & an honour to do battle with the little master on the field. But our friendship is something I cherish!”
Flamboyant India batsman Virender Sehwag said he had not come to terms with his idol's retirement.
“Sachin announcement hasn't sunk in yet,” Sehwag tweeted. “It feels as if an integral part of my life is in transition. Words aren't enough to thank u paaji (brother)!”
Rifle shooter Abhinav Bindra, India's only individual gold medal winner at any Olympics, tweeted: “Don't really know what to say about sachin. Everything will fall short. Just wish him the very best for his next innings.”
Bollywood star Shahrukh Khan tweeted that Tendulkar would be missed on the cricket field: “O no! Suddenly realised the meaning of addiction. Mine was the Master. I am going thru cold turkey. To see cricket without Sachin? Unbearable.”
Shahrukh is a co-owner of Indian Premier League franchise Kolkata Knight Riders. – Sapa-AP