NEW DELHI: Sachin Tendulkar, who retired from one-day cricket this week, says he has been moved to tears by the response of people to his decision to say goodbye to ODI matches after 23 years.
“Words are not enough to express my thanks to each of you for all the love and support I have received over the years… and especially now in the last couple of days. Your expressions have brought joy to my heart… and at times a tear to my eye!’’ tweeted the master blaster from Mussoorie where he is holidaying with his family.
“Those magical moments of our ODI journey will stay with me for the rest of my life. Thank you so much,’’ the master added.
The God of cricket, as he is often referred, Sachin has accumulated 18,426 runs in 463 one-dayers with the help of 49 centuries.
He says he will now focus on Test matches where he has scored a mammoth 15,645 runs in 194 matches at an average of 54.32 with 51 centuries and 66 half-centuries.
Meanwhile, tributes continue to pour for the little master from some Pakistani greats.
Famed Pakistan pace duo of Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis against whom Sachin started his career in 1989 called him “the greatest batsman of this era, ‘’ according to AFP.
Waqar said, “I don’t say that a batsman like him will not come but he was the greatest batsman of this era and to maintain the zeal and fitness for 23 years was a big achievement for him.
“I also feel proud that I played against him and found him a great player and a nice gentleman.’’
For his part, Wasim said, “It will be tough to match them in the years to come. He was a special talent and a very special cricketer.’’
Recalling how he and Waqar mocked Sachin on his debut, Wasim said, “Sachin was really 16 at the time when he came to Pakistan in 1989 and Waqar and I thought, ‘What will this 16-year-old do against us?’
“I hit him on the mouth but he showed a lot of gumption and courage to score a fifty in the fourth Test in Sialkot and after that innings we realised that he is a special talent.’’
Wasim said Sachin handled the burden of expectations very well.
“Sachin always played under a lot of pressure from the billions of Indian fans and the kind of consistency he showed proved that he handled those pressures and huge expectations admirably well.’’
Pakistan batting legend Hanif Muhammad even went to rate Sachin Tendulkar better than Donald Bradman and described him as the best batsman he has seen.
“I am one of those fortunate people who has seen Bradman and Tendulkar bat, and in my opinion Tendulkar is the best batsman I have seen in my life,” Hanif was quoted as saying.
Hanif, who is known for his marathon innings of 337 runs in 970 minutes against the West Indies in Bridgetown in 1957-58, said, “I am very sad to hear that Tendulkar has decided to retire from one-day cricket. I hope he continues to play Test matches. Because to my mind he could have played on even in ODIs for another two years.
“For me, he still remains the best player in the world. I have never seen a more complete player than Tendulkar and I have always been a great admirer of his batting.’’