Karachi: Sachin Tendulkar's durability and consistency set him apart from his contemporary greats and he was "indisputably best batsman of the world" at one stage, a Pakistani daily wrote in its editorial tribute to the just-retired cricket legend.
Tendulkar's awe-inspiring career ended yesterday as he bid adieu to the game after playing in his 200th Test.
"During an international career which spanned a scarcely believable quarter century, Sachin epitomised consistency. He ended his career as the highest ever run getter in both Tests and ODIs and his 100 international centuries will surely never be matched," said The News International editorial titled 'Sachin'.
"Sachin Tendulkar never had the swagger of a Lara, the grit of a Waugh or the languid stylishness of a Sangakkara but he possessed the one quality that no one else could match: durability," the editorial said.
The newspaper chided his detractors, saying, "it has now become fashionable to take a contrarian view of Sachin, to point out that many batsmen have better averages than him and that his centuries nearly always seemed to be in a losing cause."
"These people forget that for a golden period of 1994-2004, which is the length of an average player's career, Sachin was indisputably the best batsman in the world. His drop-off in form in the last couple of years is the norm for any ageing cricketer, except Sachin was able to postpone the ravages of age longer than most cricketers," the editorial added.The newspaper also talked about Tendulkar's impact on Indian cricket before the emergence of other stars such as Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly.
"For the first part of his career - till the emergence of Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly in 1996 - the hopes of the entire Indian team rested on Sachin's shoulder.
"In those lean years his team rarely won, but Sachin was already considered the best batsman in the world. As India's fortunes improved, Sachin too thrived, becoming the lynchpin of one of the most formidable batting line-ups ever.
"He tortured Shane Warne to the point where the leg-spinner admitted that he had nightmares of Sachin running down the pitch to smash another six," the article said.
The editorial further added that there was a lot more to the man than just Sachin the cricketer.
"He revolutionised the marketing of cricket, taking a sport with fringe appeal and making it a commercial behemoth. No longer was Lord's the centre of the cricketing universe; that honour would now go to Eden Gardens. Sachin predated the rise of India, was partially responsible for its anointment as cricket's superpower and then got to witness this new world order."
"This may be why Sachin is, if not the greatest cricketer ever, certainly the most consequential one," the editorial concluded....