Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
“Cricket has been my life, cricket was oxygen for me”
India batsman Sachin Tendulkar has announced that he believes it was the “perfect time to leave the game” as he has not been performing to the best of his abilities over the past couple of years.
Tendulkar’s comments come after he played his 200th and final Test match against the West Indies in his hometown of Mumbai, which India won by an innings and 126 runs.
Tendulkar scored 74 in his final innings before edging a delivery from Narsingh Deonarine to West Indies skipper Darren Sammy at first slip.
“I’ve had a lot of injuries,” he told reporters in Mumbai. “It’s not easy to overcome all those injuries.
“Somewhere in life and you reach a stage when your body gives you a message, enough of this physical load. I think the body requires rest.
“This is the perfect time to leave the game.”
Tendulkar, who is the only batsman in the history of the sport to score 100 international centuries, also admitted that his retirement has yet to sink in.
“I don’t know why but it is yet to strike me that I’m not going to play cricket anymore,” he said. “Cricket has been my life, cricket was oxygen for me.”
When asked what his plans for the future were, the ‘Little Master’ said: “It’s just 24 hours I’ve been retired, at least give me 24 days to take rest. I’ll decide after that.”
Tendulkar also recalled how he feared his international career was over after being diagnosed with tennis-elbow in 2004 and undergoing surgery for it in London in 2005.
“It’s always very difficult when you suffer injuries,” he said. “Coincidentally my injuries were not common ones.
“There used to be different goals every time I made a comeback. It’s not possible to recover earlier than scheduled by just working harder in the gym.”
The injury turned out to be so severe that the ‘Little Master’ “could not even lift” his son’s “plastic bat”.
“It took four-and-a half months to recover after the surgery on my tennis elbow,” Tendulkar said. “The doctor asked if I would be able to play competitive cricket at all.
“I could not even lift my son Arjun’s plastic bat. Kids aged 10-12 years had come to the ground for fielding the day I went to bat for the first time against a season (leather) ball.
“I hit the balls hard but the kids were able to stop them within 10-15 yards. I thought ‘I can not play anymore’.”
When asked what the crowning achievement of his illustrious 24-year career was, Tendulkar immediately picked India’s World Cup triumph in 2011.
“I had to wait for 22 years,” he said. “It was a special moment, also my last day in international cricket.
“Biggest disappointment was losing in the 2003 World Cup final – we were playing so well but could not cross that final hurdle.”