Sachin Tendulkar's fans hold his portrait during T20 semifinal match at Eden Garden in Kolkata .PTI photo/Swapan Mahapatra
Senior Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar, who called it quits from the T20 league after Mumbai Indians lifted the title here, said it was the perfect time to retire from the Twenty20 event as he has to "face the reality" after turning 40.
"I think this is the right time to stop playing T20 league. I am 40. I have to face the reality. I had decided that this would be my last season. And now the ending is perfect," Tendulkar said after Mumbai beat Chennai Super Kings by 23 runs at the Eden Gardens on Sunday night to lift their maiden T20 trophy.
Tendulkar, who played 78 T20 league matches accumulating 2334 runs at an average of 34.83, had to stay out of the final after failing to recover from a left hand injury that he picked up a fortnight ago in a match against Sunrisers Hyderabad.
The veteran, who scored one century and 13 half-centuries during his overall T20 league stint, played just 14 matches this season making 287 runs at an average of 22.07 with 54 being his highest.
"For the World Cup I had to wait for 21 years and this (the IPL) for six years. So, It's never too late. This is my last T20 league. It's the perfect way to end it," a jovial Tendulkar said after his team's triumph.
"I have got to be realistic here. I've enjoyed my six seasons with MI. It's been fantastic journey. This season was superb. We thought our third season was the best but this one is the icing on the cake," he added.
The affable right-hander, however, did not specify whether he would compete for Mumbai in the Champions League Twenty20 which is scheduled for October.
"I can't wait to hold this trophy. I waited for six years. I can never thank the fans enough. A big thank you to all the supporters who enjoyed cricket. Cricket is the winner and we have been able to produce some fantastic cricket here," he added.