Sachin Tendulkar announced his retirement from One-day Internationals today, and with it comes to an end one of the memorable eras in world cricket.
The genius batsman from Mumbai ends his career with 49 hundreds, 18,426 runs, 463 appearances, and 96 half-centuries — all world records earned over a massive 23-year-long career — but he will value his 2011 World Cup win above all these.
Tendulkar, who will turn 40 in April, exited the 50-over-format quietly. The Board of Cricket Control in India’s website announced that Tendulkar had conveyed his decision to president N. Srinivasan.
“I have decided to retire from the One Day format of the game,” his statement published on BCCI.tv said.
“I feel blessed to have fulfilled the dream of being part of a World Cup wining Indian team. The preparatory process to defend the World Cup in 2015 should begin early and in right earnest. I would like to wish the team all the very best for the future. I am eternally grateful to all my well wishers for their unconditional support and love over the years.”
The Press Trust of India quoted a source as saying that Tendulkar had gone off the radar after the Nagpur Test, where India surrendered the Test series to England.
"Once he was back in Mumbai after the Nagpur Test, he switched off his cell phone and became incommunicado for at least three days. The only possible way to contact him was through Anjali's (wife) number as he wanted some time to himself," the source, said to be a close friend of Tendulkar said on the condition of anonymity.
"By Friday night, he had intimated his family and close group of friends that he wants to quit from ODIs. Accordingly, he informed BCCI president N Srinivasan last night about his decision to retire from ODIs making it clear that he doesn't want to play in the ODIs against Pakistan," the source added.
Tendulkar’s last ODI was against Pakistan in the Asia Cup in Mirpur, Bangladesh. He had scored a quick 52 in that game, as India chased down a massive score of 329.
The announcement of his retirement was somewhat surprising. Earlier this week, sections of the media had reported that Tendulkar had made himself available for selection for the upcoming games against Pakistan.
Tendulkar has been going through the poorest form of his long, illustrious career and there have been many calls in the cricket press for him to announce his retirement from cricket. He finally chose to take the dignified way out.
Speaking to CNN-IBN, former selector Krishnamachari Srikkanth reacting to Sachin's ODI retirement, said: “I am shocked. Didn't have any indication earlier about Sachin's decision to quit. He is leaving on a high.”
India’s performance since the World Cup win has been undoubtedly its poorest in many years. The period has also coincided with Tendulkar’s poorest run in a long time. In 30 Test innings, he has averaged 31.76 with a highest score of 94. In ODIs, those numbers are poorer: 333 runs in 11 innings opening the batting, averaging 30.27, with one painstakingly compiled hundred against Bangladesh.
Those numbers pale in comparison to what Tendulkar had achieved in the years gone by, and it could be argued that Tendulkar is not leaving on a high.
The upcoming Test series at home against Australia could possibly be his last — unless he can recreate the magic of old and prolong his playing days a little more.
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