Batting genius Sachin Tendulkar has redefined the terms in which Indian cricket will now be seen, according to Congress MP Shashi Tharoor.
As the master blaster walked off the pitch in tears after playing his last Test at Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium today, the minister of state for human resource development reflected on how Tendulkar's career highs are reflective of India as a whole in a column for the 'BBC'.
"Tendulkar was the icon of emerging India, a nation finally showing its potential on the world stage. He departs from an India that has fully emerged," he said.
"Tendulkar earned India the right to be thought of as world-beaters; today's young batsmen take that for granted, approaching the rest of the world with a buccaneering swagger that his earlier triumphs have made possible," he added.
Comparing Tendulkar's exit from the cricket pitch to that of Jawaharlal Nehru's departure as India's first Prime Minister, the senior politician struck an optimistic note.
"Nehru had been India's prime minister for 17 years before his ill-health and demise; Tendulkar was India's batting mainstay for 24 years before announcing his departure.
"But Tendulkar is finally leaving the cricket after his 200th Test match, and it is time to face the reality of life after Sachin. And this, somewhat to our surprise, seems to be not quite so bad after all," he said.
"Suddenly Tendulkar no longer looks irreplaceable. If anything, the Tendulkar of today pales by comparison with the rampant 20-somethings around him. What is more, if Tendulkar triumphed amid adversity, conquering the world from a position of weakness and carrying a modest side on his shoulders, his successors dominate from a position of strength," he said.
The Little Master, as Tendulkar is fondly referred to, went into retirement after 24 years with a final innings of 74 against the West Indies.