India’s Sachin Tendulkar, whose 15,837 runs are the most in Test cricket history, said he’s retiring from elite five-day matches, ending his record-setting 24-year career.
Tendulkar, 40, will play his final two matches next month against the West Indies to lift his world record tally to 200 Tests. He quit one-day internationals in December.
“It’s been a huge honor to have represented my country and played all over the world,” Tendulkar said in a statement released yesterday by the Board of Control for Cricket in India. “I look forward to playing my 200th Test match on home soil, as I call it a day.”
Nicknamed “Little Master,” the 5-foot-5 Tendulkar holds almost all of cricket’s major batting records, including the most runs and centuries in Test and one-day international matches. He became the first player to hit a one-day international double-century two decades after his debut in 2010, score 50 Test hundreds and tally an unprecedented 15,000 Test runs. In 2011, he helped India win its first Cricket World Cup title since 1983.
“He is without doubt the greatest cricketer India has produced,” BCCI President N. Srinivasan said in the organization’s statement. “In fact one should really say he ranks among the top of all-time great sports persons in the world. He has been an inspiration for generations of sportsmen not just cricketers.”
With a batting style founded on balance, precision and anticipation, and his mastery of an array of strokes, Tendulkar was able to score runs in all conditions and in any country. He made his test debut at age 16 against Pakistan in November 1989, with his first one-day international against the same opponent the following month.
He registered his first three-figure score in Tests against England in 1990 at the age of 17.
“There is going to be a big vacuum not only in India but in the world cricket community,” former cricketer Vinod Kambli, a childhood friend of Tendulkar, said in an interview. “What he has brought to the game can’t be matched. Youngsters of today won’t have a legend to look up to. We will have to wait for another phenomena like him to take cricket to the next level.”
Tendulkar has played 198 Tests matches for India with an average of 53.86. His total of 15,837 runs in the format played over five days is 2,459 runs more than former Australia captain Ricky Ponting, who is second on the all-time list. In the 50-over format, Tendulkar ended his career with an average of 44.83 scored over 463 games.
“All my life, I have had a dream of playing cricket for India,” he said. “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, an idol in his native India, scored an unprecedented 100th international hundred against Bangladesh in March 2012. It was his most recent century.
“One of my heroes and an absolute joy to play against,” former England captain Michael Vaughan said on his Twitter feed. “The Master brought a lot of happiness globally.”