NEW DELHI: The God of cricket has retreated.
Sachin Tendulkar, the greatest cricketer of the current era who smashed every cricketing record with his bat, has decided to quit the one-day format of the game.
“I have decided to reitre from the one-day format. I feel blessed to have fulfilled the dream of being part of a World Cup winning Indian team,” Sachin said in a statement on Sunday.
In the statement issued through the Board of Control for Cricket in India, Sachin said he now intends to focus on Test cricket in which he has scored 15,645 runs in 194 matches at an average of 54.32 with 51 centuries and 66 half-centuries.
The maestro said, “The preparatory process to defend the World Cup in 2015 should begin early and in right earnest. I would like to wish the team all the very best for the future. I am eternally grateful to all my well-wishers for their unconditional support and love over the years.’’
Sachin has scored 49 centuries in 463 one-dayers in which has accumulated 18,426 runs in his 23-year career.
Interestingly, the master’s ODI career began with a duck in Pakistan in 1989 and his first ODI century came only in his 79th match.
The master blaster is the first batsman in cricket history to score a double century in the ODI format – which he did in style against the South Africans in Gwalior in 2010. However, Sachin’s record was soon bettered by fellow batsman Virender Sehwag who went to smash an all-time high of 219.
So what prompted the master to quit the ODI format just before India play Pakistan?
Maybe his consistent criticism for failing to get big scores, says Sunil Gavaskar.
The legendary opening batsman said he would have liked Sachin to go out after completing 50 ODI centuries.
“I think he cares for Indian cricket. May be whatever he saw, read and heard might have prompted him to make a call. But I feel, he knows his body well,’’
Gavaskar was quoted as saying by PTI.
“He is finishing on 49 ODI hundreds. I would have loved to see him get 50 centuries. That would have been fantastic.’’
But Gavaskar hoped the master would complete 200 Test matches.
“We are looking too far ahead. If he plays the next four Tests, that will take him to 198 and the next two tests will be later in the next year. It’s almost a year down the road.’’
Gavaskar rated Sachin’s knock of 143 off 131 balls against Australia in Sharjah in 1998 as his best.
“It has to be the Sharjah one when India had to qualify for the final and not only India need to win the match but score certain runs in certain overs. That was when the real pressure was,’’ Gavaskar said.
Gavaskar, who was part of the 1983 World Cup-winning Indian squad, said Tendulkar would cherish winning the last World Cup as his biggest accomplishment.
“It’s always going to be the World Cup win. There may be many personal achievements but it’s entirely different feeling.
“For me also the 1983 World Cup win is the greatest moment of my career. I did not contribute much and it felt on top of the world and Tendulkar did contribute. It has to be right up there,” Gavaskar said.