Melbourne, Oct 11: Sachin Tendulkar's impending retirement from Test cricket evoked unreserved admiration for the batting icon from the Australian media which described him the "deity of cricket" and one of the history's two greatest batsmen along with Don Bradman.
With the headline 'Tendulkar departs as a deity of cricket', 'Sydney Morning Herald' said that the Indian batsman combined brilliance with incredible longevity and none of his contemporaries commanded god-like status like he did.
"A batting genius who has played the game for almost a quarter of a century, he combined brilliance with incredible longevity. He outlasted fellow greats such as West Indies champion Brian Lara, Australian legend Ricky Ponting and Indian teammate Rahul Dravid, and inspired a new generation of players who wanted to be like him," the newspaper said.
"The others were all champions, and South Africa's relentless all-rounder Jacques Kallis is still going, but none of his contemporaries commanded Tendulkar's god-like status, which coincided with India's rise as a cricket superpower," it said.
There were several write-ups, columns and video footages of the past which had comments made by experts and former players over the years during Tendulkar's long career of 24 glorious years, all leading to one conclusion that he is the number one contemporary batsman, equal in greatness only to Bradman in the history of the game.
'Daily Telegraph' said it's now accepted by the cricketing world that Tendulkar and Bradman are the greatest batsmen in the history of the game.
"The cricketing cognoscenti are largely united when it comes to naming history's two greatest batsmen: Sir Donald Bradman and Sachin Tendulkar. But as for identifying the greatest of the pair? That remains one of the game's most polarising debates," the newspaper said.
"Many have attempted to anoint a winner. A Griffith University researcher, Dr Nicholas Rohde, crunched the numbers two years ago and determined Tendulkar was superior to Bradman.
Others, like Steve Waugh, have relied on less scientific and more subjective measures to declare Bradman's brand of batsmanship as cricket in excelsis," the SMH said.
"We look at some of factors that, by any standard, have propelled Bradman and Tendulkar beyond all-comers," it said.
"His retirement will leave a massive hole in the game. Cricket, in its modern guises, is unlikely to produce another player like him," it added.
The newspaper said Brian Lara might be a more damaging batsman when he was on song but Tendulkar was more consistent.
"The Indian's record against Australia - 3630 runs at 55 - and in Australia - 1809 at 53.21 - is a testament to that. His affinity with the SCG lasted his whole career; he averages 157 there, and Englishman Walter Hammond is the only touring batsman to have made more runs at the ground," said the newspaper which also put up several Tendulkar's photos during his tours in Australia.
"Tendulkar's super-stardom did not dull his runmaking. He churned out a phenomenal 51 Test centuries. A master of spin, he played Warne better than anyone. It takes a genius to know one and the pair became great friends.
"The incomparable Australian leg spinner is one of the few people on the planet who knows what it's like to be him, who could comprehend the fame that made Tendulkar wait until the middle of the night to drive his luxury car through the streets of Mumbai.
"He carried himself with remarkable grace, on and off the field. To hear the noise of an Indian crowd when he is at the crease, then the silence when he gets out, no matter the importance of the game, is one of sport's greatest thrills."
'Daily Telegraph' also carried out an online poll on who is the greatest batsman of all time and Tendulkar won hands down, beating Bradman. The newspaper asked its readers to choose the best ever from among 10 batsmen - Tendulkar, Bradman, Lara, Vivian Richards, Ricky Ponting, Gary Sobers, Jacques Kallis, Len Hutton, Rahul Dravid and Allan Border.
6234 voted and Tendulkar received 4094 votes (65.67%), far ahead of Bradman, who polled 1171 (18.78%). Lara and Richards were distant third and fourth, garnering 269 (4.32%) and 253 (4.06%) respectively.