Mumbai, Dec 23 (IANS) India batting great Sachin Tendulkar Sunday closed a major chapter of his illustrious career by announcing his retirement from one-day cricket. He will continue to play in Tests.
Tendulkar's decision following days of speculation came moments before the selectors announced Team India for the limited overs series against Pakistan starting Dec 25.
Battling with form, Tendulkar's move was on expected lines. Since the 2011 World Cup, the 39-year-old has scored only 315 runs from 10 games.
Yet his record in ODIs will be hard to beat.
He has played 463 ODIs, scored 18,426 runs and made 49 centuries -- each figure a world record. He is also the first cricketer to hit a double-century in ODIs -- 200 against South Africa at Gwalior in 2010.
Tendulkar conveyed his decision to retire from the 50-over format to Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president N. Srinivasan.
"I have decided to retire from One-Day format. I feel blessed to have fulfilled the dream of being part of a World Cup-wining Indian team," said Tendulkar, 39, in a statement.
He said it was high time for the team to prepare to defend its world title.
"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," he said.
Tendulkar's decision ahead of a crucial series against Pakistan, which marks the resumption of bilateral cricketing ties disrupted after the 2008 Mumbai terror attack, made his teammates emotional.
Cancer survivor Yuvraj Singh wrote on Twitter: "It is an emotional time! Letting Sachin go from one dayers! 18 thousand plus runs. Your jaw drops when you see those records, master you will always live in my heart and fellow Indians! The pride of our country, I salute to you for your contribution to Indian cricket."
His contemporary Sourav Ganguly expected Tendukar to play against Pakistan.
"I felt that he would play the series against Pakistan. But it is his decision and I think it is the right one," said his contemporary and former India captain Sourav Ganguly.
"There was a doubt on whether he would play ODI cricket or not. But I am not surprised by his decision. He has done what he thought was right," he added.
For BCCI, the news did not come as a shock.
Ratnakar Shetty, chief administrative officer of the BCCI, said: "He was waiting for the right and today he took the decision. The BCCI respects his decision."
Tendulkar's last ODI appearance was against Pakistan in Dhaka during the Asia Cup where he made a match-winning half-century.
During the Asia Cup, he also completed a century of centuries (49 in ODIs and 51 in Tests).
Tendulkar made his ODI debut in 1989 in Gujranwala, Pakistan, scoring a duck in the game.
It took him nine ODIs to get his maiden ODI half-century, 53, against Sri Lanka in Pune in 1990.
Tendulkar took the world by storm when he was asked to open the innings against New Zealand in Auckland in 1994. He smashed 82 off 49 balls.
Tendulkar had to wait 79 ODIs for his first three-figure score in ODIs -- 110 against Australia in Colombo, 1994.
Since then he has re-written record books.
Tendulkar has scored most of his runs against Sri Lanka (3,113) and Australia (3,077). His back-to-back hundreds against Australia in a triangular tournament in 1998 at Sharjah mesmerized his fans.
He was also the highest run-getter in the 2003 World Cup in South Africa.