Mumbai/New Delhi, Nov 16 IBNS | 2 years ago

India's iconic cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, who hung his boot ending his glorious 24 years career, got a fitting farewell as the government announced to confer Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian award of India, to him, triggering reactions by millions of his fans and followers on Saturday.

The Government has decided to confer, the Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian award on eminent scientist Prof C.N.R.Rao and cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar, said the release from the Prime Minister's Office.

"Shri Sachin Tendulkar is undoubtedly an outstanding cricketer - a living legend who has inspired millions across the globe. During the last 24 years, since the young age of 16 years, Shri Tendulkar has played cricket across the world and won laurels for our country. He has been a true ambassador of India in the world of sports. His achievements in cricket are unparalleled, the records set by him unmatched, and the spirit of sportsmanship displayed by him exemplary. That he has been honoured with several awards is testimony to his extraordinary brilliance as a sportsman," read the government release.

Reacting to the government's decision to confer Bharat Ratna to Sachin, Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) presdient N Srinivasan said in a statement: "Sachin Tendulkar is an inspirational figure, and a role model for all sportspersons. He richly deserves the Bharat Ratna. I extend my heartiest congratulations to him."

In a statement, BCCI Secretary Sanjay Patel said: "This is a historic moment. Sachin Tendulkar has done the country proud with his sterling achievements, over the decades. Hearty congratulations to him for being conferred the Bharat Ratna."

Meanwhile, reaction also flooded social networking sites as people from different walks of life shared their emotions on Sachin's remarkable achievement and his retirement from cricket.

Former India captain Rahul Dravid tweeted: "This was very very emotional. #ThankYouSachin."

Cricketer Ajinkya Rahane said: "Thank you so much for everything n such a wonderful memories paaji."

Cricketer Suresh Raina posted on his Twitter homepage: "No words. Just respect. Inspiration. Motivation. Greatest. Now fittingly Bharat Ratna Sachin Tendulkar # Thank you Sachin."

Referring to Sachin's speech given after the end of the Test between India and West Indies, former Australian cricketer Tom Moody said: "Moving and classy speech by the "little master" composed and graceful to the very end. #ThankYouSachin."

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi tweeted: "Bharat Ratna for Sachin Tendulkar is a fitting tribute for his contribution to sports. My congratulations to him. @sachin_rt."

BJP president Rajnath Singh posted on his Twitter homepage: "Congratulations to legendary cricketer Sachin Tendulkar on getting the 'Bharat Ratna' award for his contribution to Indian sports.Tendulkar will always be remembered for taking cricket to glorious heights. Legends like him never retire as they live in the hearts of ppl."

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee posted on her Facebook page: "Sachin Tendulkar is an icon of Indian and World cricket. Legends are forever. They only move from one field to another, leaving behind their unmistakable mark of excellence. His sportsmanship qualities, talents, sense of perfection, dedication and loving nature will still be available not only in the field of sports but even in other fields. As the worthiest sports star he richly deserves the Bharat Ratna which I have been voicing for the last few years."

"Congratulations Sachin, move ahead Sachin. I wish him long life and brighter future. We are proud of you," she said.

BJP leader Vasundhara Raje: "Congratulations @sachin_rt on becoming 1st sportsman to be conferred with Bharat Ratna.Well deserved honor to the man who made us all proud!"

Singer Lata Mangeshkar tweeted: "Namaskar. Mujhe abhi pata chala hai ki Sachin Tendulkar ko Bharat ka sarvocch nagri samman BHARAT RATNA pradan kiya jaayega. Mujhe bohot khushi hai,main Sachin ko bohot bohot badhaai deti hu. Mujhe yaqeen hai ki sab cricket premiyo'n ko meri tarha hi bohot khushi ho rahi hogi. (I know that Sachin Tendulkar will be given the Bharat Ratna. I am very very happy. I hope every cricket lover is equally happy like me)."

Cricket commentator Harsha Bhogle tweeted: "Tendulkar gets the bharat ratna. it is good. but what he got from the people of india was far bigger. it was unmatched."

Actor Aamir Khan said: "Thank You Sachin for everything that you have given us, your fans. There will never be another like you. Love, a."

Writer Chetan Bhagat posted: "Amongst all the divisive forces around us, Sachin made India one. You are leaving the field, never our hearts. Bye buddy!"

Former top cop turned social activist Kiran Bedi tweeted: "Nation bestows Bharat Ratna Award on @sachin_rt Kohinoor of India!Only one of its kind!A wonderful son,husband,father, brother,team player!"

Filmmaker Karan Johar said: "Bharat Ratna for #Sachin....Respect....salute....Ovation....Love."

Filmmaker turned actor Farhan Akhtar posted on his Twitter homepage: "I do not think it as unfortunate to see you retire as I think it fortunate to have watched you play. #ThankYouSachin."

Earlier in the day, in a match where the focus was on Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar as he played his farewell game here and walked out of the stadium with tears and scripting a history that would be almost a Herculean task for any future cricketer to rewrite, India also beat West Indies by 126 runs and an innings to bag the two-Test series 2-0 and gift the legend of willows a befitting tribute in his swansong outing.

From his die hard fans turning up in fancy dresses and even attired like Gandhiji- so that Sachin can remember that even Gandhi had come to watch his last game- to lusty cheers and endless tears, it was a befitting farewell from cricket lovers to Tendulkar as the game ended with Mohammad Shami taking the last wicket.

Time nearly stood still at 11:47 at Wankhede Stadium when the match ended.

Sachin, who thus ended the 24 year long career with 34357 runs in international cricket, including 15921 in Tests, was in tears as he was given a guard of honour by his teammates.

"I cannot imagine Sachin without cricket, I can imagine cricket without Sachin," said Tendulkar's wife Anjali during the last match of Master Blaster while the man himself thanked everyone.

Sachin, whose career thus wounded up with joys of achievement and tears of farewell, recalled how his brother Ajit had taken him to his first coach "Achrekar Sir" and that changed his life.

While Sachin did not get a chance to bat in the match again, he was allowed to bowl on Saturday as captain Dhoni bowed to the wishes of his fans who cheered lustily all along for Sachin.

He also took a stump as a souvenir of the last game and wiped his moistening eyes making a final exit from the greens.

"It is hard to believe that a wonderful journey is coming to an end," he said as he thanked his family. His mother was also watching the game and he thanked her, and his father and said his children- Sara and Arjun- are his precious possession.

"My best partnership is with my wife Anjali," he said, acknowledging his wife's contribution in his life since they met in 1990. Anjali was also in tears.

He also hoped that the youngsters will serve the game in right spirit.

A day ago as Wankhede Stadium echoed with his name, Tendulkar got out at 74 in the first innings of his last and 200th Test match of the career, missing a century but nevertheless playing a spectacular knock.

His 74 included 12 boundaries while every Tendulkar devotee was expecting and praying for a ton. The stadium was glammed up and graced by the rich and famous personalities of India from the field of showbiz and politics- from Rahul Gandhi to Aamir Khan and Hritik Roshan.

The entire stadium fell silent on Friday and the dreams of millions others watching the game on television were shattered as Tendulkar was caught by Sammy from a delivery by Deonarine for 74. But though he missed the century, he proved in his last game that he was not a spent force.

Even India's iconic singer Lata Mangeskar felt Sachin could have played one more year.

Sachin said all cricketers who played with him like Rahul Dravid, Laxman and Sourav Ganguly are like his family.

And as an era came to an end, Indians said: "Thank You, Sachin."

(Posted on 16-11-2013)