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Cricket | International

Sachin Tendulkar © Gallo Images

FEATURE: Tendulkar, 24 years of magic



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THE FINAL ACT

Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar wept as he left the pitch for the final time on Saturday after his 200th test match, ending a dazzling career spanning nearly a quarter of a century.

The master batsman, who has god-like popularity across India, waved to thousands of cheering, emotional fans and wiped tears from his eyes as he left the field through a guard of honour formed by his teammates at Mumbai's Wankhede stadium.

At the age of 40, Tendulkar is retiring from the game as the world's leading scorer in both test and one-day cricket and the only man to score 100 international centuries.

In a lengthy and poignant speech on the field after the match against the West Indies in his hometown, Tendulkar thanked everyone who had supported him, from family members and friends, coaches and managers through to teammates and ardent fans.

He began by paying tribute to his father who passed away in 1999, saying that "without his guidance I don't think I would be standing in front of you".

Celebrating a genius
- Career in Pics

The cricketer thanked his mother and other relatives individually, prompting tears from his wife Anjali as he praised her and his "two precious diamonds" – their son Arjun, 14, and daughter Sara, 16 – who stood close by as he spoke.

Calling his marriage to Anjali "the best partnership I've had in my life", he promised his children "the next 16 years and beyond, everything is for you".

"I know there are so many guys who've fasted for me, prayed for me, done all sorts of things for me. Without all that life wouldn't have been like this for me," he told the teary-eyed crowds in comments broadcast on Indian television.

"I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart and say that time has gone by rather quickly, but the memories that you've left with me will always be with me forever and ever."

He said the chanting of "Sachin! Sachin!" would "reverberate in my ears until I stop breathing", prompting deafening shouts of his name from spectators.

Tendulkar was then hoisted on to his teammates' shoulders for a victory lap around the field, waving a giant Indian flag.

Soon after the match he was chosen for India's highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna, in an announcement from the president's office, making him the first sportsperson to receive the honour.

To the disappointment of his followers, the "Little Master" only batted for one innings during his last match, failing to clinch a fairytale final century when he was out for 74 on Friday.

His dismissal was met with a stunned silence followed by a standing ovation from the crowd, who had greeted his every run with thundering cheers.

Spectators nevertheless praised his last performance, which included 12 well-timed boundaries to remind them of the best that Tendulkar has produced since his international debut in 1989 at the age of 16.

"His 74 runs captured all we have come to love and celebrate about him," said a piece in the Hindustan Times daily, with the headline: "Thank you, thank you, thank you".

"A billion dreams end," said the Times of India.

During his glittering career, Tendulkar gained a reputation for humility and integrity in a country where public figures are often tarred by corruption.

He told his Indian teammates that he believed they would "continue to serve the nation in the right spirit, with the right values".

"Each generation gets the opportunity to merely take care of this sport and serve it to the best of our ability," he added.

Tendulkar failed to score a test century in the last 40 innings of his career, with the final of his 51 test tons coming nearly three years ago in January 2011 against South Africa.

His declining powers in recent years had led some to suggest he should have retired earlier, but such criticism failed to dent his superstar status among India's 1.2 billion people.

Tendulkar's wheelchair-bound mother, Rajni, watched him bat in person for the first time at his final match, after a special ramp was built for her at Wankhede. She had previously worried that her presence may bring her son bad luck.

Cricketing greats Brian Lara and Shane Warne flew in to join Indian politicians, businessmen and Bollywood stars at the stadium to witness Tendulkar's swansong.

Rachel O'Brien, AFP


PROFILE

Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar (born 24 April 1973) is widely acknowledged as the greatest batsman of his generation.

Born in Mumbai, he took up cricket at age of eleven, made his test debut against Pakistan at just sixteen years old, and went on to represent Mumbai domestically and India internationally for more than twenty years.

He retired from the Indian Premier League in May 2013 and has announced that he will retire from the sport in November 2013 after playing his two-hundredth test match, against the West Indies in Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium.

He is the first player to score one hundred international centuries, the first player to score a double century in an one-day international (ODI), and thus far the only to complete 34 000 runs in international cricket.

In 2002, Wisden Cricketers' Almanack ranked him the second greatest test batsman of all time, behind Don Bradman, and the second greatest ODI batsman of all time, behind Viv Richards.

Tendulkar was a part of the 2011 Cricket World Cup-winning Indian team in the later part of his career, his first such win in six World Cup appearances for India. He was also the recipient of "Player of the Tournament" award of the 2003 Cricket World Cup held in South Africa. In October 2013, he became the only Indian cricketer to be named in an all-time test World XI to mark the 150th anniversary of Wisden Cricketers' Almanack.

Tendulkar has been honoured with the Padma Vibhushan award, India's second highest civilian award, and the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award, India's highest sporting honour.

Tendulkar won the 2010 Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for cricketer of the year at the ICC awards. In 2012, Tendulkar was nominated to Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Parliament of India. He was also the first sportsperson and the first one without aviation background to be awarded the honourary rank of Group Captain by the Indian Air Force.

He has received honourary doctorates from University of Mysore and Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences. In 2012, he was named as an Honourary Member of the Order of Australia.

As of October 2013, Tendulkar has played 662 matches in international cricket. On 5 October 2013, Tendulkar became the 16th player and first Indian to aggregate 50 000 runs in all recognised cricket (First-class cricket, List A cricket and Twenty20 combined).

On 23 December 2012, Tendulkar announced his retirement from ODIs.

Tendulkar is the 51st richest sportsman in the world according to Forbes' list of world's highest-paid athletes for the year 2013, with his total earnings estimated to be $22 million.

In October 2013, the net worth of Tendulkar was estimated at $160 million by Wealth X, making him India's wealthiest cricket player.


STATISTICS (Final, as at November 16, 2013)

Batting and fielding averages

Mat Inns NO Runs HS Ave BF SR 100 50 4s 6s Ct St
Tests 200 329 33 15921 248* 53.78     51 68   69 115 0
ODIs 463 452 41 18426 200* 44.83 21367 86.23 49 96 2016 195 140 0
T20Is 1 1 0 10 10 10 12 83.33 0 0 2 0 1 0
First-class 310 490 51 25396 248* 57.84     81 116     186 0
List A 551 538 55 21999 200* 45.54     60 114     175 0
Twenty20 96 96 11 2797 100* 32.9 2310 121.08 1 16 359 38 28 0
Bowling averages

Mat Inns Balls Runs Wkts BBI BBM Ave Econ SR 4w 5w 10






Tests 200 145 4240 2492 46 3/10 3/14 54.17 3.52 92.1 0 0 0
ODIs 463 270 8054 6850 154 5/32 5/32 44.48 5.1 52.2 4 2 0
T20Is 1 1 15 12 1 1/12 1/12 12 4.8 15 0 0 0
First-class 310   7605 4384 71 3/10   61.74 3.45 107.1   0 0
List A 551   10230 8478 201 5/32 5/32 42.17 4.97 50.8 4 2 0
Twenty20 96 8 93 123 2 1/12 1/12 61.5 7.93 46.5 0 0 0


FACTBOX

* Born on April 24, 1973, in Mumbai. Made his test debut against Pakistan as a 16-year-old, becoming the youngest Indian test player. A year later, he hit his maiden test hundred in England.

* Has played the most tests (200), scored the most test runs (15 921), one-day international runs (18 426), and compiled the most test centuries (51) and one-day hundreds (49).

* Has also taken 46 wickets in tests and 154 wickets in ODIs.

* Had two unsuccessful terms as India captain, the first aged 23 in 1996 before being axed 17 months later after his batting suffered. He was reappointed in 1999 but stood down after a 3-0 test series rout in Australia the following year.

* Tendulkar was named player of the 2003 World Cup, scoring a record 673 runs to help India reach the final, where they lost to Australia. In the next year, he equalled compatriot Sunil Gavaskar's world record of 34 test hundreds while compiling 248 not out, his highest score, in Australia.

* Named Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1997.

* Surpassed West Indies' Brian Lara as the highest test run-scorer in 2008. Lara had scored 11 953 runs before he retired from international cricket in 2007.

* Became the first batsman to score 200 runs in one-day internationals, against South Africa in Gwalior, India in February 2010. He finished on 200 not out off 147 balls with 25 fours and three sixes.

* Became the first batsman to score 100 international centuries after stroking a single off left-arm spinner Shakib Al Hasan in an Asia Cup one-dayer againstBangladesh on March 16, 2012.

* Announced his retirement on October 10, 2013.

* Played his 200th and final test match against West Indies at the Wankhede Stadium, his home ground, in Mumbai from November 14, 2013.

* Played his final innings of 74 on November 15, the 24th anniversary of his international debut against Pakistan in Karachi.

* The 40-year-old walked off the field for the final time on November 16, 2013 after India beat West Indies.



VIDEOS

Thank you, Sachin

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Tendulkar's farewell speech

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Emotional farewell

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Tendulkar leaves the field

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Tendulkar wicket

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Short Tribute

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The Little Master Part 1

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The Little Master Part 2

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The Little Master Part 3

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Tendulkar's 200th test

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ARTICLES


COLUMNS


TWITTER TRIBUTES


MORE REACTION

Reaction to the retirement of India's Sachin Tendulkar from cricket on Saturday after a glittering career spanning 24 years:

DAVID RICHARDSON, CEO of International Cricket Council (ICC):

"He was an exceptional cricketer who earned the utmost respect of his peers, teammates, opponents and fans all over the world through his talent, performances and fierce competitiveness.

"His 664 internationals, 34 357 runs and 100 centuries over 24 years not only illustrate his determination and commitment to the game but also his mental and physical toughness which are the vital ingredients to reach the highest pedestal in any sport.

"Sachin always put his team ahead of himself during his illustrious career but he picked up a number of personal accolades which highlights his brilliance.

"Sporting geniuses like Sachin are rare phenomena and we are privileged to have seen him in action. On behalf of the ICC and the entire cricketing family, I thank Sachin for his unprecedented services to our sport and we wish him well in the future."

JITENDRA SINGH, sports minister of India:

"Sachin Tendulkar is one of the finest examples of sportsmen we have ever had with love for the sport, humility, integrity, honesty and pure unbridled talent. His sterling performance across all formats of the game, from tests, ODIs and T20 over 24 years, is a rare feat of exemplary elegance, earnest application and commitment."

ANJALI, wife of Sachin Tendulkar:

"I have always known, from even before we got married, he is not only mine. Cricket comes first. He belongs to Mumbai, he belongs to the country and then he belongs to us.

"I can imagine cricket without Sachin but I can't imagine Sachin without cricket."

ROGER FEDERER, tennis great, on Twitter:

"What a remarkable career @sachin_rt. Wish you the very best moving forward #ThankYouSachin"

SANIA MIRZA, India tennis player, on Twitter:

"So emotional...the whole country is...we will miss u #RESPECT #SACHIN #LEGEND"

MICHAEL CARRICK, England footballer, on Twitter:

"A true great of sport @sachin_rt retiring, had some innings!! The little master will be missed."

GRAEME SMITH, South Africa captain, on Twitter:

"Sorry I missed @sachin_rt last game.what can you say about a man that did so much for our great game! all the best in retirement & thank you!"

MATTHEW HAYDEN, former Australia cricketer, on Twitter:

"Chase dreams and no short cuts, be a good person #dad patience, prayers and sacrifices #mum whatever you do, do it 100%#brother #Sachin"

BRETT LEE, former Australia cricketer, on Twitter:

"Congrats to the legend @sachin_rt well done mate on everything you have achieved. A phenomenal career"

DARREN LEHMANN, Australia coach, on Twitter:

"Congratulations to Sachin on a magnificent career! One of the best of all time in the world of cricket, plenty of memories from him!"

DAMIEN FLEMING, former Australia cricketer, on Twitter:

"Well done on a great career #Sachin And #ThankYouSachin all the headaches bowling to you in your prime"

TOM MOODY, former Australia cricketer, on Twitter:

"Moving & classy speech by the "little master" composed & graceful to the very end. #ThankYouSachin"

GRAEME SWANN, England cricketer, on Twitter:

"I'm not sure if you heard but Sachin Tendulkar retired today! What a great little player and lovely bloke #ThankYouSachin"

LUKE WRIGHT, England cricketer, on Twitter:

"Such a honour to have watched and played against Sachin. He is a different class and yet still a great person. #ThankYouSachin"

CHRIS GAYLE, West Indies cricketer, on Twitter:

"Was absolutely a pleasure being a part of history Sachin Tendulkar 200 test Match. #legends"

VIRENDER SEHWAG, India cricketer, on Twitter:

"Been an emotional time for me since the announcement #SRT. Can't articulate what he means to me, it's so personal! #ThankYouSachin"

SANJAY MANJREKAR, former India cricketer, on Twitter:

"He was the first to reach the ground & last to leave for 29 yrs. Don't think any cricketer will miss the game as much as Tendulkar will."

AAKASH CHOPRA, former India cricketer, on Twitter:

"Damp eyes...lump in my throat. A final goodbye. #ThankYouSachin"

HARBHAJAN SINGH, India cricketer, on Twitter:

"Let's salute the master. Cricket won't be the same without u. For me u r cricket. Thank u paji for everything"

IRFAN PATHAN, India cricketer, on Twitter:

"Most emotional retirement of world cricket but Sachin Tendulkar isn't retiring from our heart, #ThankYouSachin"



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