Sachin Tendulkar has decided to fade away, albeit partially from the world of international cricket, in particular from the 50-overs format.
On Sunday the 39-year-old ended his world record 463-match ODI career in which he scored 18,426 runs at 44.83 by informing the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) that he is through with the 50-overs form of the game in which he played six World Cups from the 1992 Benson and Hedges World Cup in Australia-New Zealand till the ICC World Cup 2011 that India won defeating Sri Lanka in the final at the Wankhede Stadium.
Tendulkar’s decision meant that he’s made himself available for the four-Test series against Australia next year and also for Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy tournament. Almost five years ago he — along with Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid — opted out of the inaugural ICC Twenty20 World Cup and demonstrated their intent of keeping away from the shortest form of the game at the national level.
Nothing short of a colossus would be apt to describe Tendulkar. Humongous has been his run scoring ability and the sheer dynamics he created with the willow as a skinny lad with a curly hair way back in Pakistan in 1989 and right through his remarkable tenure made him the darling not only in India, but elsewhere in the cricket world.
His retirement from the ODI’s, he has played in 96 venues across the world from the first one against Pakistan at Gujranwala in December 1989 till the Asia Cup early this year was more or less on the cards, especially after he reached the 100 international centuries milestone against Bangladesh on March 16, 2012 at the Shere Bangla National Stadium.
In fact after the ICC World Cup win in April 2011, he did not figure in 25 matches for India and missing the last tour of Sri Lanka was a clear signal from him that he cannot take on the travelling rigours of limited overs cricket and that he should vacate a place for a younger talent.
It’s been a fascinating story of the Bandra-born boy who showed a tremendous appetite for runs right from the matches arranged by his first coach Ramakant Achrekar at the Shivaji Park in the 1980s and right through for the teams like Mumbai junior and senior teams and finally for India. He notched his first century in his 79 ODI match against Australia at the Premadasa Stadium in September 1994 and against a bowling attack that had names like Glenn McGrath, Craig McDermott, Shane Warne, Tim May, the Waughs (Steve and Mark) and Michael Bevan. Since he has played many signature knocks, the most notable being a blazing 98 against Pakistan in the 2003 World Cup match played at Centurion Park, South Africa. Fittingly it was his 49 century in ODIs that brought his international centuries mark that had eluded for many days.
After a dismal showing in the home Test series against New Zealand and England, critics have been demanding his exit from the scene; he kept his composure in the face of strident remarks; it gained force after Ricky Ponting quit from all international cricket at the end of the Test series against South Africa.
On Sunday he spoke to the BCCI President N. Srinivasan and Secretary Sanjay Jagdale and issued the following statement: “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. 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.”
Decision not sudden
Playing tribute to a fine cricketer Jagdale said: “It (decision to retire from ODIs) was not sudden. He informed us before the selection committee meeting about his decision. We should respect his decision. The way BCCI and cricket lovers respect him, the same way they should respect his decision. He is not only a great Test batsman but also a great one-day batsman. In T20 also he has batted well in whatever matches he had played. We wish him the best. It is his own decision and people respect it. He spoke to me and the President about his decision. Naturally he must have been (emotional), we just spoke on the phone. A person of his calibre knows what to do. He has always taken the right decision at the right time. He will continue to do that in future as well.”
The BCCI Chief Administrative Officer, Ratnakar Shetty said: “I think it is a big decision. For a player, who has been playing for 23 years, and in all formats of the game with great distinction, it is a decision he has taken with a great deal of thought. What he has expressed is his concern that India has to prepare for the next World Cup. From that point of view, he felt that it was time that he retired.
“There was no pressure on him from the board. The board President had spoken to him and left it entirely to him to take a call on when he wants to call it a day. That is the stand which we have been taking for the last five years because speculation has been there since 2007. For a player of his calibre, he decides ultimately when it is time to quit. He has quit from the shorter format of the game. We should allow him to take the decision on retiring from longer format because he is the best judge till when he can play and till when he can bat well. That decision will be entirely his. I won't say it was a shocker. He was also thinking on those terms. He was waiting for the right time to call it a day and today he has expressed his desire to retire from one-day format and BCCI respects his decision.”
Tendulkar’s ODI record: Matches 463, Innings 452, Not out 41, Runs 18,426, Average 44.83, Highest 200 not out, 49x100 (20 in India and 29 overseas), 96x50s, 20x0s, Balls faced 21,392, strike rate 86.14, 192x6s, 2013x4s, 154 wickets, 2 x 5 wkts, catches 140, seven times 1000+ runs in a calendar year.
Tendulkar’s 18,426 is followed by Ricky Ponting 13,704 in 375 matches, S. Jayasuriya 13,430 in 445, Inzamam-ul-Haq 11,739 in 378, Jacques Kallis 11,498 in 321, Sourav Ganguly 11,363 in 311, Kumar Sangakkara 10,915 in 337, Rahul Dravid 10,889 in 344, Mahela Jayawardene 10,844 in 386 and Brian Lara 10,405 in 299 matches.