Puri (Odisha), Nov.14 (ANI): Internationally acclaimed sand artist Sudarshan Pattnaik paid tribute to batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar by sculpting 200 colourful cricket bats on a beach in Puri, Odisha.
The 'Little Master' will bring the curtain down on a glittering 24-year career at the age of 40 when he plays his 200th test match, against West Indies, at his home ground starting on Thursday.
Statistically the greatest batsman of all time, Tendulkar's greatness goes far beyond those numbers.
The cricket bats made of sand in different colours and the sculpture lured domestic and international tourists.
Pattnaik said: "As Sachin Tendulkar is retiring from cricket, so we thought of saluting him in a grand way and therefore, we made around 200 cricket bats out of sand to pay him a tribute."
For the last time, the superstitious Tendulkar will put on his left pad first, and walk out to bat in India's colours, having long secured his place among the game's greats.
Despite overwhelming adulation from a country that has virtually deified him, Tendulkar has displayed the same composure at the crease in accumulating 100 international centuries as he has done off the field.
His self-discipline and controversy-free image have made him a role model for India's burgeoning youth, who are largely disillusioned with the politicians.
Since announcing his decision to retire from cricket, the country of 1.2 billion people has slipped into nostalgia about its biggest sporting icon.
An overwhelmed fan of Tendulkar, Mitali Sinha, said that 'the god of cricket' deserves a grand tribute before retiring from the game.
"He (Sachin Tendulkar) is recognised all over the world, and he really needs a tribute as masterly as this one," said Sinha.
All other major run-scoring records belong to Tendulkar, who made his debut for India against Pakistan in Karachi in 1989 as a curly-haired 16-year-old.
He has scored the most runs in tests and one-day cricket and his 51 test centuries and 49 ODI hundreds are also records.
'The God of cricket', as fans call him in India, has not been in prime form during the last few years with his last test century coming against South Africa in January 2011.
Some believe the master batsman has played on for too long and should have retired after the World Cup victory. (ANI)