Mumbai: Sachin Tendulkar, arguably the greatest batsman in contemporary cricket, retired from ODIs on Sunday, bringing the curtain down on a career spanning 23 years during which he re-wrote record books with his feats.
The 39-year-old conveyed his decision to the BCCI, which issued a statement on his behalf to make the announcement. The champion batsman will, however, continue to play in Test cricket.
“I have decided to retire from the One-Day format of the game. 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,” Tendulkar was quoted as saying in the BCCI statement.
“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 added.
Tendulkar, considered the most complete batsman in modern cricket, retires from the ODI format at the top of the run-getters’ list.
He amassed 18,426 runs in 463 one-dayers at an average of 44.83. The diminutive right-hander has an astonishing 49 hundreds in the format, including a double hundred – the first in this form of the game. Tendulkar also has a mammoth tally of 96 ODI 50s to his credit.
Tendulkar’s Test records are as awe-inspiring. The right-hander has 15,645 runs at an average of 54.32 in 194 Tests that he has played so far. The tally includes 51 hundreds and 66 half-centuries.
Tendulkar’s decision to quit the ODI format came on the day when the ODI team for the series against Pakistan was announced. There was speculation that he would play in the series to regain form ahead of the Test series against Australia.
Of late, the batting great had been under intense pressure to take a call on his future following a prolonged form slump, particularly in the Test series against England where he averaged a poor 18.66.
Tendulkar has been choosy about his ODI appearances, the last of which came in the Asia Cup in March where he completed his century of international hundreds.
Tendulkar made his ODI debut against Pakistan way back in 1989 and he is quitting the scene just ahead of another series against the arch-rivals.
The Mumbaikar, who made himself unavailable for Twenty20s after playing just one game in 2006, will now remain active only in the Test arena.
The brightest moment of his ODI career came last year when he finally became part of a World Cup-winning Indian team after five previous appearances.
He was stuck on 99 international tons for quite a while after scoring two hundreds during India’s successful World Cup campaign.
The biggest compliment to his batting came from the legendary Sir Donald Bradman in 1999, when the Aussie legend said that Tendulkar’s style of playing resembled his batting style. “That touch I used to feel when I batted,” the great Australian had said.
Despite the recent slump in his form, Tendulkar’s overall tally of runs is unlikely to be matched anytime soon given that the distant second-best in the list, former Australian captain Ricky Ponting, has already retired with 13,704 runs under his belt.
Sri Lanka’s retired great Sanath Jayasuriya occupies third spot in the overall chart with 13,430 runs.
Besides his batting, Tendulkar also did service as an effective partnership-breaking bowler before a shoulder injury limited him and he finishes his ODI career with 154 scalps, including two five-wicket hauls.
Tributes started pouring in soon after the 39-year-old cricketer announced his decision to quit the format.
“I felt that he might have played the series against Pakistan. But it is his decision and I think it is the right,” said Tendulkar’s long-time opening partner in the 50-over format, 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.
“I don’t think there was any pressure of selectors on him. It is his own decision. No one can drop him,” Ganguly added.
Former captain Kris Srikkanth said he was surprised by Tendulkar’s decision.
“I am surprised by his move but he is leaving ODI cricket on a high. I am sure he will want to leave on a high in Test cricket also. He will be looking forward to a good Test series against Australia,” Srikkanth said.
Another former India skipper Dilip Vengsarkar said Tendulkar should have continued in one-dayers.
“Actually I am surprised. If he is continuing with international cricket (Test) then he should have continued with ODI also. We play almost 25 ODIs in a season. It is very important to keep playing international cricket.
“In ODIs, he opens the innings and plays the full innings almost so he gets used to international bowling. I am surprised he opted out of ODIs. He should have continued playing ODIs.”
South African batsman Hashim Amla also paid tribute to Tendulkar.
“Conclusion of a sterling ODI career from a wonderful batsman. Congrats Sachin Tendulkar,” South Africa’s prolific run-getter Hashim Amla tweeted.
Former Sri Lanka captain Arjuna Ranatunga said Tendulkar has enough cricket left in him to prolong his Test career.
“He has figured greatly with runs in the longer version of cricket. I think he has played a little bit more in the longer version but when he feels that he is good enough to play in the Test side, I know, he feels he is good enough to play in the longer version in order to achieve the milestone of 200 Tests,” said Ranatunga.
Star England batsman Kevin Pietersen also paid tribute to Tendulkar for an incredible one-day career.
“Statistics NEVER lie! They tell a very true story.. Well done Sachin! What an incredible ODI career..,” Pietersen tweeted.
Former Pakistan captain and noted commentator Ramiz Raja said he can understand Tendulkar’s decision to call it quits.
“When you have played 23 years of international cricket, a time comes when ODIs don’t excite you anymore as you have achieved everything that you possibly could have. Sachin has also won the World Cup, therefore his decision is understand-able,” he said. (PTI)