London, Dec 19: Sachin Tendulkar is god to billion Indians but he is a "gracious god" who lifts his people out of the pit of despair in the wake of Mumbai terror attacks, a leading British newspaper said, paying tribute to the champion batsman who has "not a scrap of ego".
Tendulkar offered balm to a country which was devastated by terror attacks in its finacial capital yet he remained a modest god, according to a write-up in Daily Telegraph.
"He (Tendulkar) is an unlikely-looking god. He stands there in the middle dwarfed by the gigantic Andrew Flintoff and the strapping Yuvraj Singh, a boy-like figure with a cherubic face whose Michelin man-style pads come half way up his thigh," Simon Hughes wrote.
"The poor Indian lifts his hands to Sachin Tendulkar in supplication; Give us respite, a sense of liberation; lift us up from the dark pit of our lives to well-lit places of the imagination with your skill-wrought perfection. He has not a scrap of ego. He is a gracious god. We will never see his like again".
The writer said that Tendulkar never shirked his enormous responsibility and spent considerable time preparing for a game.
"Tendulkar never shirks this enormous responsibility. He spends almost every waking hour seeking that perfection, practising, planning, preparing. He rings his brother, the man who knows his game best, every day, talking bowlers and bat angles and shot selection. He looks at the pitch and contemplates how he will make runs on it. He is thankful of his talent and dutifully delivers it to his public, the majority of whom have nothing," Hughes wrote.
A self-effacing man who keeps his emotions private, Tendulkar's inner urge to express the hurt caused to him by the audacious terror attack at the city he was born and brought up led him to dedicate his century in Chennai to the people of Mumbai and India, but he admits it was not his nature to play the role of a statesman too often.
"Sometimes I do it, but it is not my way," Tendulkar was quoted as saying by the newspaper. "Tendulkar lives in Bandra, in the north of Mumbai, Bollywoodville. But he often goes south to Colaba with family and friends, to eat in the Taj Mahal Palace hotel or the Oberoi.
"The Mumbai attacks were close to home and affected him deeply. The England players remarked on his extra patience and intensity at the crease. This time he was doubly determined to lift his people out of their pit," the article said.
Tendulkar wields a heavy bat unusual for his small frame, but he says he would not be the same batsman without his willow.
"I like a bow in it. I can't bat with anything else. I would not feel right at the crease," the master batsman said.