Ajit Tendulkar revealed that the retirement issue of his younger brother Sachin was settled within the family after a lot of discussion, and termed its timing "right". Sachin's retirement was being speculated for months before the legendary batsman finally announced his decision to quit first-class cricket on October 10, putting to rest all the guesswork.
He, in a statement released by the BCCI, said that the two-Test series against the West Indies in November would be his last, taking his tally to an unprecedented 200 matches.
"It wasn't a shock as such. He had to decide that he is going to retire. All the family members were around and a lot of discussion went into it. And I think he got the timing right. That's my personal opinion," Ajit told Headines Today.
"He is leaving on a very high note. He has achieved most of things in his career and that has made India proud — 100 international tons is a rare feat and all of this he has done for India. That's how it will be remembered," said the mentor who has scarified a lot for Sachin.
After the announcement of his decision, Sachin played his last Ranji Trophy game last week, against Haryana in Lahli, and scored a match-winning 79 in the second innings.
Grand ceremonies have been planned for Sachin's 199th Test in Kolkata and the 200th in Mumbai. But Ajit tried to downplay the celebrations ahead of those matches.
"We are really thankful to all the felicitations being planned for him. This is just another Test match for him. It's a Test match between India and West Indies. For him, nothing can come in between that," he said.
The first Test starts at Eden Gardens, Kolkata, on Wednesday.
Highlighting the tough mettle that his younger brother is made of, Ajit recalled that when he, as a 16-year-old Test debutant, was felled by a Waqar Younis bouncer in Karachi, he refused to give up.
"It was prior to tea time and India were 38/4. A lot was expected from Sachin and he misjudged the bouncer and it hit some part of the helmet and I could very clearly hear the noise in the pavilion," he recalled.
"Waqar was the fastest of the Pakistani bowlers at that time and that ball deflected (on to his face) and he started bleeding. His shirt was soaked in blood and he was surrounded by Pakistan bowlers. Even in that situation words were exchanged just to push Sachin down psychologically," he said.
Ajit said when Sachin was picked for that tour of Pakistan in 1989, it was an "absolutely emotional" moment for the family. He narrated an incident to stress that how important the India cap has been for Sachin and the family.
"We were all proud and happy because every aspiring cricketer looks to earn that India cap. And it came at an early age."
"I remember an incident when Sunil Gavaskar presented JRD Tata with the India cap and said that you have got everything in life what else can we present you? To which Tata replied that he can buy anything in life but not the India cap," he said.
"So, you can imagine the feeling in the family when Sachin was going to wear the India cap at the age of 16. It was an absolutely emotional moment for us."
Ajit also recalled that when his father passed away during the 1999 World Cup in England, Sachin attended the last rites and returned to join the team.
"Cricket has always been the first priority. We really didn't have to convince him. He knew his father really well. He too would have asked him to go back and play. Undoubtedly, it was very very tough, but keeping all the emotions behind, he decided to leave for England…"
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