New Delhi: Sachin Tendulkar may want the arc lights to be more on the Cheteshwar Pujaras and the Virat Kohlis, but he remains the cynosure.
Nothing will change when the fourth and final Test against Australia, at the Kotla, begins on Friday. If anything, the focus on The Master could be far more this time.
With good reason.
Even if the Test isn't Sachin's last, it may well be his final appearance at home. For, going forward, not a single Test has (as of now) been scheduled within the country till October 2014.
That's a long way off.
Sachin, who retired from ODIs three months ago, turns 40 on April 24.
In fact, the next Test, in South Africa, is as many as eight months away and one doesn't know how motivated Sachin would be at that point in time.
"Look, Sachin could announce retirement from Test cricket too if he gets a big hundred at the Kotla... Or, he may do so if India make it 4-0, something we've never done before... Equally, he could decide on one more trip to South Africa," somebody in the know of things reasonably well told The Telegraph on Thursday.
Sachin's last Test hundred (146) was, by the way, on the 2010-11 tour of South Africa. Specifically, 26 months ago.
Typically, Sachin trained in elaborate manner during the day, part of the exercise being a lengthy chat with coach Duncan Fletcher.
Many, including some Delhi Metro construction workers, tried to get a toehold on the Kotla parapet when Sachin was busy taking on the quicks and the spinners.
For them, a glance of The Master was worth the risk of a major injury.
Such is the Sachin effect.
It's interesting that Sachin's tally of Test appearances will reach 198 at the end of the ongoing series. No one has played more, but the temptation to become the first (and, possibly, the only one) with 200 Test appearances would be perfectly normal.
To be fair to Sachin, not once in a career of over 23 years has he ever suggested that he's driven by records. He just keeps scripting them.
Never known to open up except to those in his innermost circle, Sachin appears to have become much more private of late. Not that he's obliged to keep updating the world.
Sachin's now a nominated member of the Rajya Sabha, though. It's a very public position.