India batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar yesterday announced that he would retire from international cricket, after completing his 200th Test match against the West Indies next month.
Just like his retirement from one-day international (ODI) cricket, Tendulkar made the big announcement via a statement through the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in the afternoon.
Tendulkar said, “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. 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 felt it was 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."
BCCI president, N Srinivasan in his tribute said, “I have been an ardent follower and admirer of Sachin Tendulkar from the days he came to play the Kalapathi Buchi Babu tournament in Chennai. He is, without a 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. 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.”
The affairs at the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA), Tendulkar’s home association almost came to a standstill yesterday, despite the ongoing election fervour. It was a case of mixed feelings for MCA chief Ravi Savant.
“We were asking for Tendulkar’s 200th Test, as there was a lot of talk about the match going to Kolkata, or some other place. As per the BCCI’s rotation policy, we were not in contention. So, we would have found it difficult to claim that Test match. Now that Sachin himself has expressed his opinion that he should play here (in Mumbai), it has made our job easier. The shocking thing is that it will be his last Test -- something we had never thought of,” Savant, who is also the BCCI vice-president, told MiD DAY moments after Tendulkar’s announcement.
However, Prof Ratnakar Shetty, General Manager (Game Development), BCCI, clarified that Mumbai had not yet been confirmed as the venue for Tendulkar’s 200th Test. “By ‘home soil’, Sachin meant India. The venue is not yet confirmed," Shetty told MiD DAY.
Shetty, though, admitted that he would like the match to be at Wankhede. “We all want this (200th) match to be played at the Wankhede Stadium. For someone who has played on Mumbai’s maidans, at the Wankhede Stadium and then went on to play all over the world, we look forward to the day when he steps onto the Wankhede pitch to play his 200th Test match. We hope that the BCCI will certainly consider it,” said Shetty.
Savant, meanwhile, hoped to utilise Tendulkar’s services for Mumbai cricket in the future. “The time has come to think about how we can utilise him for Mumbai cricket… To think about what role he can take up. All these years, we never bothered him. But, we would like to utilise his vast experience for the benefit of Mumbai cricket,” said Savant.