New Delhi, Oct 10 IANS | 10 months ago

India's cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar will bring the curtain down on his illustrious 24-year-old career with his 200th Test - this one against the West Indies - in November.


Tendulkar, who had retired from ODIs last December, said Thursday that the 200th Test match would indeed be his last game.

The final match of the two-Test series against the West Indies starting Nov 14 could be hosted in Tendulkar's home town Mumbai. The first Test is slated for Nov 6.

Tendulkar, who was nominated to Rajya Sabha this year, said he has been living a dream for the last 24 years.

"All my life, I have had a dream of playing cricket for India. I have been living this dream every day for the last 24 years. It's hard for me to imagine a life without playing cricket because it's all I have ever done since I was 11 years old," Tendulkar said in a prepared statement.

"It's been a huge honour to have represented my country and played all over the world. I look forward to playing my 200th Test Match on home soil, as I call it a day," he added.

"I thank the BCCI for everything over the years and for permitting me to move on when my heart feels it's time! I thank my family for their patience and understanding. Most of all, I thank my fans and well-wishers who through their prayers and wishes have given me the strength to go out and perform at my best," the statement added.

Tendulkar's last Twenty20 match was the Champions League T20 final where his team Mumbai Indians beat Rajasthan Royals to win the title.

BCCI president Narayaswami Srinivasan paid rich tributes to Tendulkar.

"I have been an ardent follower and admirer of Sachin Tendulkar from the days he came to play Buchi Babu in Chennai. He is without doubt the greatest cricketer India has produced. In fact, one should really say he ranks among the top of all-time great sports persons in the world," he said.

Srinivasan said Tendulkar has been a true ambassador of Indian cricket.

"No one has served Indian cricket as Sachin has. He has truly been an ambassador for India and Indian cricket. He has been an inspiration for generations of sportsmen not just cricketers. We respect his decision to retire although many of us can't imagine an Indian team without Sachin," he said.

Tendulkar's former team mate Sourav Ganguly, with whom he formed one of the most successful pairs in ODIs, also paid rich tribute.

"The first time I met him was, I think, in Indore, when we both were 14-year-olds at a national camp with Vasu Paranjpe as coach. I wasn't surprised by what he achieved later. He had all the shots in the book then, and what was very, very striking was that he had a hunger for the game. At the age of 14, all he knew was batting and he would bat all day; the coach would actually have to pull him out of the nets. I think that's the reason he has been successful. It's not just the talent he was born with but what he did with it," Ganguly, a former India captain, told NDTV.

Former international umpire Dickie Bird, who has seen Don Bradman in 1948, said Tendulkar was the closest to the Australian legend.

"He had so much time to play the ball, to pick the line and length. I saw Bradman play in 1948 and he is the nearest player I have seen to Bradman and would always be in my side as the No.4. I cannot pay a higher compliment than that," said Bird.

Kris Srikkanth said he was lucky to be Tendulkar's first India captain.

"In 1989, I was lucky to be his first captain and it was amazing that this 16-year-old boy making his debut was playing so calmly. The way he played fast bowling in the first tour to Australia was also another amazing thing. Sachin is still the same person I saw in 1989. That's his greatness not just as a cricketer but as a human being," he said.

(Posted on 10-10-2013)