London: Sachin Tendulkar might be considered God but the legendary batsman has always worshipped the game of cricket, said former England captain Andrew Strauss in his tribute to the former Indian cricketer on Sunday. (Also read: Master Blaster ends career at 18th spot in ICC Test rankings)
"Cricket made him into a God but, ironically, the game of cricket was what he worshipped," the left-handed opening batsman writes in 'The Sunday Times'.
"Gary Kirsten once described Tendulkar as a 'Professor of Batting'. (Related: 'Sachin is like Maradona')
"His obsession with the art, his outrageous talent and herculean work ethic have turned him into the most productive cricketer of all time," he adds. (Also read: Sachin admits his tired body told him it was time to quit)
Striking a personal note, the retired Middlesex county cricketer picked out the Chennai Test against England in 2008 as Tendulkar's "fairytale moment". (Dedicate Bharat Ratna to all mothers in India: Sachin Tendulkar)
"In the aftermath of the Mumbai bombings India needed its great hero to deliver. He scored an unbeaten century to win the game. That day, though, he wasn't thinking about rising to his nation's need, he was simply analysing, plotting and executing a method to play Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar on a violently turning wicket," he writes.
Strauss bemoaned the lack of a final century for the batting genius in his final Test against West Indies at Wankhede Stadium: "The game of cricket, though, has a habit of reminding even its greatest proponents that no one is ever completely in control of their destiny. (Sachin is a Viswa Ratna, says Gavaskar)
There was no final century for Tendulkar, just as there was no fairytale ending for Don Bradman in his last Test innings.
Still, at least the Indian's 74 compares favourably with Bradman's second-ball duck.
"So Tendulkar heads into retirement, with the circumstances of his final Test standing as the ultimate testament to his contribution to the game.
"He has been able to deal with all the hype, the pressure and time away from home over 25 years because of one undeniable fact. He loves batting."