THERE'S always a sense of the miraculous in the appearance of great geniuses in sport or the arts. Their power to confound and transform our expectations makes it seem as if they had arrived out of nowhere. Of course, they never do. And Sachin Tendulkar, even as he outstrips all his contemporaries, is nonetheless a product of a time and place, and of a global cricket culture in a state of rapid but uneven evolution.
Look at the picture another way. It would have been cause for consternation had India not produced at least one global cricketing superstar in the 1990s, a decade in which the game has reached unparalleled heights of popularity and profitability in India and across the subcontinent, where 90 per cent of the world's cricket followers now live.