It is at once unbelievable as well as inevitable. The legend that is Sachin Tendulkar, the giant of Indian and world cricket and a hero in his homeland, is being told that it is time to hang up his bat.
How did it come to this? He is one of the greatest batsmen of all time. He has scored more runs than any other in international cricket player and earlier this year become the first man to score 100 international centuries.
Now 39, a run of indifferent form has seen some of the country's critics and biggest newspaper to doubt whether he still has what it takes.Enjoying this article? Click here to subscribe for full access. Just $5 a month.
His top score in the three tests against New Zealand, not the strongest cricketing nation, was 27.
It is not just his recent spate of failures with the bat, it is the way he has been dismissed. Three times he was bowled. That is a sign; say some, that the Little Master is not quite as masterful as he was in the past.
"The dismissal that was most disturbing was that of the 'master' when he was bowled through the gate," another Indian legend Sunil Gavaskar wrote in the Indian media, who then later said on television that the years have caught up with Tendulkar.
"With age, the feet don't come to the pitch of the ball, the eyes don't pick up the ball early."
With the Indian media also starting to question his continued worth, the player himself says that he is determined to keep playing and will prepare for upcoming games against England and Australia.
Sourav Ganguly played with the Mumbai native for almost 20 years and feels that it is not yet the time for him to go.
"I honestly feel the time has not come for him to go," Ganguly said. "He is a legend and takes pride in his game and no one knows his game better than him. His ability has not declined, he just has not had enough time out in the middle," said Ganguly. "The problem is with his shot selection and that is because he has not played for the last few months."
Ganguly was one of the best players in the previous decade and retired in 2008. The 2012 retirement of VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid, two more fantastic players, have contributed to the feeling that India's golden era of brilliant batters is coming to an end.
Such is Tendulkar’s stature that his retirement would be huge news in the world of cricket and even non-Indians have an opinion. Former Australian fast bowler Glenn McGrath enjoyed some memorable tussles with the Indian player.
“Look, to me Sachin Tendulkar is still a wonderful batsman. I saw him bat today for a while and he was middling it pretty well,” said McGrath, one of the best bowlers in recent history. “As a batsman, he has seen it all and if he feels, there are areas to work on, he will do that. And I know you'll ask whether Sachin should retire, and my answer would be 'Leave it to Sachin. He will know when to go'.
While the end may be near for Tendulkar, it may not be some time away just yet.