On this day: The biggest run-tally in international cricket comes to a halt

The glorious run tally began 15th November 1989 and stopped on 16th November 2013. Arguably the golden-most phase of cricket. Twenty four years and a day is an era in itself, and to play an international sport for so long is an astounding feat. 664 international appearances, 34,357 runs, 100 centuries, 164 half-centuries, and countless records, memories, and emotions. Sachin Tendulkar is the synonym of belief, courage, and conviction.

The Little Master came to the front, ages ago in 1989, as a 16-year-old, against the scariest of bowlers. Ones who had got the better of almost everyone they bowled to. Tendulkar showed to the world what he was made of, in the very first series he ever played. In the fourth Test of his debut series against Pakistan, he continued to bat on like a warrior with blood oozing out of his nose, after taking a hit. But there was no stopping the Master. He was never meant to stop.

In the coming decades, Tendulkar scripted innumerable records and garnered unparalleled love. He became the definition of the sport. People would watch and follow cricket only to witness the Little Master wield his magical wand. His dismissal meant the turning off of televisions for millions. His arrival meant deserted streets. Sachin Tendulkar was, and shall always be an emotion.

Exactly 24 years after his international debut, on November 15, 2013, Sachin Tendulkar stepped out to bat for 329th time in Test cricket, in what was his 200th Test. Each number created by him seems a lie, and none of us would have believed had we not seen them unfold in front of us. The West Indies’ tour of India was earmarked as the farewell series of unarguably the biggest cricketing icon there ever was and will be. After a comfortable victory in the first Test at Kolkata – Sachin’s 199th – the second and the last Test of the series was scheduled between November 14 to 18.

Master Blaster scored a breezy half-century as he came out to bat at 77/2 on day one and then went on to make 74 off 118 balls, scoring 12 boundaries. He was caught at slip by West Indies captain Darren Sammy, who hardly celebrated as Tendulkar left the pitch and headed for the dressing room at Wankhede Stadium in his home city of Mumbai.

When he got dismissed on day two, there was a strong possibility that India would not likely bat again in the Test. Billions prayed for the match to go into day five so that their legend got another chance to stride out with the bat. However, India was dominant in the game, to say the least, and wrapped it up in just three days – winning by an innings and 126 runs. It will go down as a day that is remembered forever fondly in Indian cricket: the start and end of an era quite like no other.

Over these 24 years, the chants of “Sachin… Sachin” became a beloved anthem for every Indian.

Millions played before Sachin, as many played alongside him, and there will be as many after him, but there was, and never will be, another Tendulkar. There is no combination of words in the world that could describe the legacy, the phenomena, of Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar. You are the one who ruled our hearts and continues to do the same, Sachin. You were, are, and will always be Not Out!