Little Master to play swansong

Little Master to play swansong

Sachin Tendulkar will end his remarkable 24-year international career after playing his 200th Test against the West Indies in November.  

“All my life, I have had a dream of playing cricket for India. I have been living this dream every day for the last 24 years,” Tendulkar said in a statement released through the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Thursday.

“It's hard for me to imagine a life without playing cricket because it's all I have ever done since I was 11 years old. It's been a huge honour to have represented my country and played all over the world. I look forward to playing my 200th Test match on home soil, as I call it a day.

“I thank the BCCI for everything over the years and for permitting me to move on when my heart feels it's time. I thank my family for their patience and understanding. Most of all, I thank my fans and well-wishers who through their prayers and wishes have given me the strength to go out and perform at my best,” said Tendulkar in the statement.

The venues for the two Tests against the West Indies are yet to be announced by the BCCI.
The batting maestro from Mumbai has scored 15,837 runs from 198 Tests at 53.86. In one-dayers he has made 18,426 runs from 463 matches at 44.83. Tendulkar has garnered 51 hundreds in Tests, and made a further 49 in the 50-over format, making him the first-ever batsman to score 100 international hundreds. A part-time bowler who can try his hand in leg-spin, off-spin and seam-up, Tendulkar has also amassed 200 international wickets.

Tendulkar also became the first Indian and 16th batsman overall to score 50,000 runs in senior competitive cricket, including first class, List A and Twenty20 games. He achieved this rare feat during this year’s Champions League T20 semifinal in New Delhi.

Speculation over Tendulkar’s retirement had gathered momentum in the early part of 2012 after India returned from Australia after a 0-4 mauling. Tendulkar gave the first hint of moving away from cricket in December 2012, retiring from one-day cricket. And with BCCI slotting in a series against the West Indies at home, the retirement talk gained momentum, culminating in Thursday’s announcement.

BCCI President N Srinivasan acknowledged Tendulkar’s contribution to Indian cricket in his message, stating that it was hard to imagine an Indian cricket team without Tendulkar. “I have been an ardent follower and admirer of Sachin Tendulkar from the days he came to play Buchi Babu in Chennai. He is without doubt the greatest cricketer India has produced. In fact, one should really say he ranks among the top of all-time great sportspersons in the world. No one has served Indian cricket as Sachin has. He has truly been an ambassador for India and Indian Cricket,” said Srinivasan.

“He has been an inspiration for generations of sportsmen not just cricketers. We respect his decision to retire although many of us can't imagine an Indian team without Sachin,” he added.

Tendulkar began his international career with a Test against Pakistan at Karachi in 1989, and became the backbone of Indian batting line-up for well over the next two decades. His decision to quit leaves a void in the middle-order, and whoever steps into that spot will have plenty to live up to.

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