Bangalore: "It was the most difficult thing in the world, when I went to tell the chairman," said Bill Shankly of his decision to retire as Liverpool's manager. "It was like walking to the electric chair. That's the way it felt." As with most things he said, there was a generous dollop of exaggeration. Then again, it's impossible to overstate just what sportsmen feel when they walk away from the only kind of life that they've known.
Now that Ricky Ponting has called time on an unprecedented career - 108 Test wins and three World Cup triumphs are at the front of an immense catalogue of achievement - the debates will intensify over Sachin Tendulkar's future. One can only hope that the level of discourse goes up several notches from where it has been this week.
On Wednesday morning, I read a column that compared Tendulkar to a leech. It also spoke of Bradman comparisons being ridiculous - despite the fact that it was Sir Don himself who first made them. Really, how low can you go?