Before beginning this story I would firstly like to apologise to my friends in the USA for whom this subject will be a mystery.
Perhaps though, I could introduce you to a remarkable young man and sportsman, and also mention something of my lifetime devotion to the game of cricket.
Cricket originated in England 130 years ago as the "gentlemans game".
It has always been much more than a "game". It traditionally embodied many desirable human characteristics such as decency, fairness, honesty and respect for others.
The rules and terminologies used in cricket are almost inexplicable to those not raised in a cricketing culture.
What other game on earth could be played over 5 consecutive 6-hour days, sometimes at slow pace, maybe ending with no victory to either side, and yet remain relevant in todays fast-paced world?
It survives because it is played with a varying range of physicality, nuance, psychology and subtlety, appreciated by millions of devotees primarily in England, Australia, South Africa, India, Pakistan and the West Indies.
For me, I cannot imagine life without cricket.
From times as a little boy, in the days before television, listening to live cricket commentaries being transmitted from England in the middle of our night to an old bakelite radio in the living room.
Then, as a youth playing the game in 100 degree Aussie summers with my ample enthusiasm adequately offset by a paucity of natural talent.
The international game over the last century has occasionally been tainted by moments of less than honorable sporting behaviour and scandal.
With this in mind, it is a joy to have witnessed the almost 20 year playing career of Indian, Sachin Tendulkar.
Sachin recently became the highest aggregate run scorer in the history of test cricket.
Cricketing careers, now encompassing several generations of gifted young men, are conspicuous milestones when I look back over my life, and they provide an acceptable explanation for the time-worn face I occasionally see in my mirror.
I remember Sachins first introduction to us when he was just a teenager at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, and the crowd of spectators delighted in humorously counting his first runs in massed voice "one-dulkar", "two-dulkar" all the way up to "ten-dulkar" after which the novelty wore off, and it became increasingly obvious that they were witnessing the emergence of an extraordinarily gifted sporting talent.
Sachin Tendulkar, over 20 years has honored all the original qualities expected in the game of cricket. By default, this also means everything which is good about the human character.
He is a role model par excellence, conducting both his on and off-field life with dignity, sincerity, generosity and modesty.
A gentleman, and a gentle man.
He has played the game with technical excellence second only to the incomparable Sir Donald Bradman, and he is the finest ambassador for the game of cricket in the world today.
Sachin Tendulkar, " The Little Master"…..I salute you.