Tendulkar picks 'perfect time' to exit

India

Veteran Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar acknowledged this month was "the perfect" time to retire from international cricket, after the conclusion of a 200th – and final – Test match.

Veteran Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar acknowledged this month was "the perfect" time to retire from international cricket, after the conclusion of a 200th – and final – Test match.

Tendulkar scored a fine 74 in a resounding innings and 124-run win over the West Indies in the series decider at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, ending a prolific career that spanned all of 24 years.

"When I went to the wicket, and I stood there, I realised this is the last time I am standing in front of a packed stadium actually as a part of the Indian team. This would never happen. That was very emotional. I couldn't control my tears. Knowing that I would never have a cricket bat in my hand playing for India was very, very emotional. There have been wonderful moments, and I could think of all those things. It happened very fast," said Tendulkar.

"You would have noticed, I didn't want to be rude, but I could not look up when I was shaking hands, including with West Indies players, because I was in tears, and I didn't want anyone to see my face that way. It's hard to express what I felt, but in spite of all these things I knew the decision was correct. I know the decision is right.

"To have played cricket for the country was the most important thing for me. In those 24 years, different challenges presented themselves, but the desire to play for the country was so intense that solutions presented themselves too. In finding those solutions, the family was a big help, coaches, friends, players, they were all with me.

"This was a dream journey. Last night when I sat alone – until know, I don't know why it has not sunk in that I am not going to play more cricket. Somewhere or the other I will go and play. I think to talk about the 24 years, I can say in short that it has been a dream journey, and I have no regrets leaving. I felt this was the right time. It was a very enjoyable journey."

Tendulkar's final Test match was originally scheduled against the Proteas at Newlands in Cape Town. The Board of Control for Cricket in India, who have endured a contentious relationship with Cricket South Africa chief executive Haroon Lorgat, later changed the occasion to Mumbai.

"Please understand that West Indies have world-class players. This sport is a great leveller. There are ups and downs. There have been a few occasions when we haven't fared well. We have been in that boat to know how it feels," added Tendulkar.

"There are certain times when things don't work out. I would say it was just one of those things when things didn't work out for them. They are a terrific side, and play in the right spirit. As long as you turn up to give your best and play cricket in the way it is meant to be played, according to me they scored full marks for them."

The Indians and Windies will contest three ODIs later this month, the first of which will get underway at the Nehru Stadium in Kochi on Thursday. The Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium in Visakhapatnam and Green Park in Kanpur will host matches two and three respectively.

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