Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar on Sunday said it still hadn’t sunk in that he would never play cricket again, adding that he would like to be associated with the game in some form, though not immediately.
Sachin takes a lap of the ground as his teammates carry him on their shoulders in Mumbai. (PTI Photo)
“It still hasn’t hit me that I won’t play anymore; still feels like I will play somewhere. Cricket has been my life, it is oxygen to me. In 40 years, at least 30 years I have played proper cricket — 75% of my life has been cricket. So, there will be some association with the game,” Tendulkar said at a press meet a day after he retired from international cricket.
The iconic cricketer said he needed a break before taking up anything else in life. “It has just been 24 hours since my retirement from a 24-year career. I need to rest for at least 24 days before starting with anything else,” he said.
Tendulkar said it was the perfect time to quit playing cricket as he felt his body couldn’t take the load anymore. “It has been a dream journey, no regret that I am leaving cricket. This was the right time to stop playing cricket.”
Sharing the feelings he was going through during his last moments on the field yesterday, Tendulkar said he was very emotional and overwhelmed with the response from the crowd. “I wasn’t emotional when I decided to retire. My family members were, but I was not, because I knew I was making the correct decision. But when I touched the pitch for the last time and started walking back, I had tears in my eyes. Knowing that I would never be able to play for India again made me very sad,” the Little Master said.
The cricket legend played his 200th and final Test at the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai. The match ended yesterday after the West Indies were bundled out for paltry scores in both their innings. Tendulkar scored a classy 74 in the first inning but didn’t get an opportunity to bat again as the Caribbean team suffered defeat by an innings and 126 runs .
Tendulkar dedicated to all the mothers — especially his mother, Rajni Tendulkar — the Bharat Ratna he was awarded for his service to cricket. He told the media he wanted to make his last match a surprise for his mother by requesting the BCCI to organise the match in Mumbai. “My mother had never seen me play before my 200th match. I wanted the match to be a surprise for my mother and she could only watch it in Mumbai. But, thanks to the reports you ran about the Test series itinerary, my mother found out,” he quipped while talking to the mediapersons.
In a candid statement, Tendulkar told the media that his morning after the retirement felt peculiar. “I woke up at 6.50am, just like any other day as a cricketer. I felt I had to take a quick shower and go play. But then, I realised I had retired. I had a relaxed breakfast with my wife and took my time replying to the well-wishing texts I got from my friends and family members,” he said as the mediapersons clamoured to ask him questions about his future plans. To those questions he replied, “It has hardly been 24 hours. Give me some time.”
Wishing the Indian cricket team well for the future, Tendulkar said his prayers and heart will always be with the cricket team when they go out to play.