For a country in love with the sport of cricket, Sachin Tendulkar has become a national treasure, idolized by millions. Cricket players the world over consider him probably the most complete batsman the game has ever seen. He is so skillful that there is practically no shot he cannot play. Bowlers dread facing him, because he is unflappable and succumbs to none of their tricks. Ace Australian bowler Shane Warne once said Tendulkar gave him nightmares.
The 5'5" boyish star is mobbed by fans wherever he goes in India, except for his old neighborhood in Mumbai, where he still plays cricket with friends and is treated like a normal person. Every televised game he plays becomes a national event, and the details of his life are a national obsession. He is accustomed to the fuss but remains humble, in spite of the fact that he is the world's wealthiest cricketer and appears in about one-fourth of all Indian television commercials, so prolific are his endorsements.
Tendulkar is the first Indian to achieve such heights in both sports and media stardom. Over his career, he has helped to bring Indian cricket from a little-televised sport to a major national pastime. His talent and skill place him in the world annals of cricket, with the best of players from any country. Yet, he humbly said, in 1999, "I've never thought of myself as the best batsman in the world. My ambition was to be considered one of the best, and to stay there."