Forget for a moment the hundreds he has scored, ignore the thousands of runs against his name in various formats, disregard the length of his extraordinary career. More than these achievements, two things stand out about Sachin Tendulkar. One: Despite his long cricket journey, he is neither tired or drained, his enthusiasm for cricket has not diminished. Two: He stays grounded and disarmingly humble even when there is so much to be immodest about.
Fans treat him as a cricket God, for players across the world he is a wonderful role model, an inspirational figure who symbolises consistent excellence. For everyone else he is democratic India's uncrowned royalty.
Sitting in his hotel room ahead of the IPL game later that afternoon, Sachin didn't seem to notice the chocolates and flowers, the fruit basket or the bottle of South African wine in the table. At every hotel, Sachin is a VIP guest, upgraded into the best suite located on its Presidential floor.