The news of Sachin Tendulkar’s retirement was expected for some time, but when it did come, there was a sense of numbness. And, that is how it would be felt across India and the rest of the cricketing world. Hailed a genius on his international debut, his achievements with the bat and fame have transcended the game. That is because ever since he burst on to the scene as a 16-year-old in 1989, he has entertained cricket fans like few others have. In return, the cricketing world, from Sydney Cricket Ground to Sabina Park, have loved him like one of their own. Across nations, his runs were celebrated and strokes applauded. The rousing reception the announcement of his name elicited was not restricted to hometown Mumbai – they were equally thunderous in England, Australia or South Africa. The crowd reaction settled all debate as to who was the greatest – for no one else in this generation commanded such popularity. When it came to Tendulkar nationality never mattered.