Johannesburg - When legendary batsman Sachin Tendulkar announced on Thursday that he would retire from Test cricket later this year, former cricketer Ali Bacher paid tribute to the Indian batsman whom he had been privileged to know and watch play on numerous occasions.
"Sachin is one of the greatest cricketers the world has seen," Bacher said.
"He has handled the expectations, the hopes and aspirations of over 1.3 billion people in India for more than two decades with extraordinary maturity, calmness and responsibility."
The 40-year-old master batsman retired from one-day cricket in December 2012 and would end his career with two Test matches against the West Indies in November. The second game, scheduled to be played in Mumbai, would be his 200th and final Test.
Tendulkar, who started playing cricket at age 11, made his Test debut for India at age 16, against Pakistan in Karachi in November 1989.
He has since played 198 Tests, scoring a remarkable 15,837 Test runs, at an average of 53.86. He has hit 51 centuries and 67 half-centuries, with his highest Test score an unbeaten 248 against Bangladesh in Dhaka, in December 2004.
Tendulkar has also scored the most number of runs by an individual in one-day cricket, having amassed 18,426 runs at an average of 44.83.
He made 49 tons, 96 fifties and, last year, became the only cricketer in the history of the game to score 100 international centuries, taking into account both formats of the game.
"During his long and distinguished career, as a person both on and off the field, Sachin has always shown respect for his peers and elders," Bacher said.
"He has always been humble, and nobody has ever been able to find skeletons in his cupboard.
"He has been a great asset to the game of cricket and for this, the world of cricket says to Sachin Tendulkar, ‘very well played sir and thank you’," Bacher said.