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Emotions run high as Tendulkar farewell begins

Published:2013-11-14 13:06:02    

International: Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar took to the pitch Thursday for his 200th and final Test, bidding farewell to his adoring public and basking in tributes from fellow players, politicians and fans.

The 40-year-old is ending an international career spanning nearly a quarter of a century during which he became the all-time leading Test and one-day batsman and the only man to score 100 international centuries.

The end of the 'Little Master', who has almost god-like status in his cricket-mad country, has been met with nationwide nostalgia for his sporting feats since his international debut in 1989.

Tendulkar, who led the team out onto the field in his home city of Mumbai, said the last 20 years had been "marked by some of the most challenging, exhilarating, poignant and memorable moments of my life".

The game has seen so much change over the last two decades -- from advances in technology, new formats, yet the basic spirit and passion surrounding the game remains the same," he wrote in a front-page Hindustan Times piece.

Excitement ahead of the game has been building since he announced his intention to retire last month, with highlights of his innings and interviews looping on news channels.

"He's not just a cricketer. For me he's an ideal son, an ideal friend. The biggest thing about him is his humility," said fan Himanshu Kapadia, queueing for entry to the stadium with his two sons.

"It's a piece of history for me," he said of the farewell match.

Many fans have expressed disappointment that only 5,000 tickets went on sale for the general public despite the 32,000 seats in the Wankhede stadium, many of which are reserved for VIPs such as sponsors and cricket club members. AFP