After a spirit-lifting journey of countless miles, milestones and sacrifices, Sachin Tendulkar shared his thoughts with the media in Mumbai on Sunday, a day after his celebrated departure from international cricket.

The maestro said he was “humbled and honoured” by the conferring of the Bharat Ratna on him. He wanted to share the moment with all mothers for all their sacrifices and congratulated eminent scientist C.N.R. Rao on being honoured with the same highest civilian award.

An emotional Tendulkar said he had requested the BCCI to conduct his last match in Mumbai because he wanted his mother to see him play. “Cricket is my oxygen,” said the 40-year-old legend, who raised the bar for batsmanship, willed his way through injuries, and reached dizzying heights even as he kept his feet firmly on the ground. “I will be associated with cricket, not in the immediate future though,” he said.

On his decision to retire, he said: “I have always said that the day I get the feeling that I should stop playing cricket, I will make it public.”

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