Playing through a revolution
Sachin Tendulkar may have been a constant at the crease for nearly a quarter of a century but the game of cricket underwent a revolution in that time, with India now established as the dominant power.
When 16-year-old Tendulkar strode out to bat against Pakistan in November 1989, the West Indies were the world's number one side, South Africa was still a sporting pariah and Twenty20 cricket was unheard of.
Meanwhile concepts such as Duckworth-Lewis, powerplays and snicko had yet to trouble the game's governing body -- then ensconced in the old-world splendour of Lord's in London before moving in 2005 to newly-built offices in Dubai.
But while Dubai plays host to the International Cricket Council, observers say there is little doubt that Tendulkar's India now exercises the real levers of power and its board is not afraid to flex its financial muscle.
According to Lawrence Booth, editor of the cricketers' almanack Wisden, India -- a cricket-mad nation which is home to more than a billion people -- is now the undisputed superpower of a game previously dominated by England.
"And the less well-off national cricket boards are utterly reliant on hosting Indian tours to top up their coffers, almost exclusively through the vast TV deals they can broker with Asian channels."
Booth dates the eastwards shift of power to the 1996 World Cup, the second time that the 50-over tournament was staged on the subcontinent.
But it was India's unexpected victory in the inaugural World Twenty20 in South Africa in 2007 that really ushered in a sea-change, leading to the launch of the Indian Premier League a year later.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) ironically was cool on Twenty20 in its infancy, fearing matches that lasted for only 40 overs would generate far less television advertising revenue than the 100 overs a day format.
But since its launch, the IPL has drawn the world's top players who turn out for city-based franchises owned by business moguls and Bollywood actors.
Tendulkar himself has appeared lukewarm about T20. While he turns out for the Mumbai Indians, he made a solitary appearance for the national side in 2006 before making himself unavailable.