Everything You Need to Know About Sachin Tendulkar

On the eve of his retirement, here's how to ease your way through a conversation about the greatest cricketer and sportsman to have ever lived

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Danish Siddiqui / AP

Indian cricket player Sachin Tendulkar speaks during a news conference to launch a travel portal in Mumbai Oct. 23, 2013

Correction Appended: Nov. 14

He is the Greatest. Sportsman. Ever. Cricket legend Tendulkar has broken all the records there are to break and done so beautifully. He has scored over 34,000 runs in a career spanning more than two decades, during which he has consistently brought his A-game, having never once been dropped from his country’s Test side (its most elite cricket team). There isn’t another athlete who can match that.

He Embodies the Aspirations of a Billion People: Tendulkar’s initial years in cricket (he debuted in 1989) took place against a turbulent backdrop. India was trying to come to grips with economic liberalization, caste clashes, communal riots and political instability. Every time he scored a hundred runs (known in cricket as a century), the hopes of a billion people took flight. In the words of Indian poet, CP Surendran, when Tendulkar walked out to bat, “a whole nation, tatters and all, marched with him to the battle arena.”

Indians Worship Him as a God: A complete, total living embodiment of the divine.  

An earlier version of this story included a reported quote from President Obama. The quote has been removed because it cannot be verified.

MORE: Sachin Tendulkar’s 10 Greatest Moments