Mumbai — The crowd milling around Wankhede Stadium daily with placards and posters of Sachin Tendulkar are a testament to cricket's most worshipped player who is about to make his international swansong.
Tendulkar plays his world-record 200th and last test from Thursday in a hometown stadium that could have been sold 10 times over and still not satisfied demand.
His popularity reached beyond cricket's giant stadiums long ago, especially in his India homeland.
A career combining superstar talent, virtually from the time he made his India debut at 16 in 1989, and no controversy have made the Tendulkar brand desired and irresistible to sponsors, politicians and the public in the world's most cricket-crazed nation.
Even Amitabh Bachchan, a superstar in India's other cherished institution Bollywood, says Tendulkar is the country's biggest icon.