Sachin Tendulkar will bring an end to his glittering 24-year international career after he plays his 200th Test, which is scheduled to be during the home series against West Indies in November. Tendulkar announced his decision on Wednesday afternoon, via a BCCI statement, like he had done when he retired from ODIs in December 2012.
"All my life, I have had a dream of playing cricket for India. I have been living this dream every day for the last 24 years," Tendulkar said in a statement. "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. It's been a huge honour to have represented my country and played all over the world. I look forward to playing my 200th Test match on home soil, as I call it a day.
"I thank the BCCI for everything over the years and for permitting me to move on when my heart feels it's time. I thank my family for their patience and understanding. Most of all, I thank my fans and well-wishers who through their prayers and wishes have given me the strength to go out and perform at my best."
Tendulkar's retirement had been the matter of much speculation. He had wound down his career in phases, announcing his retirement from ODIs in late December 2012, and with the BCCI shoehorning a home series against West Indies before the controversy-hit tour to South Africa, it had seemed an apt moment for a home farewell. The venues for Tendulkar's last two Tests have not yet been announced.
N Srinivasan, the BCCI president, said in a tribute that it was hard to imagine an India team without Tendulkar. "I have been an ardent follower and admirer of Sachin Tendulkar from the days he came to play Buchi Babu in Chennai. He is without doubt the greatest cricketer India has produced. In fact one should really say he ranks among the top of all-time great sports persons in the world. No one has served Indian cricket as Sachin has. He has truly been an ambassador for India and Indian Cricket. He has been an inspiration for generations of sportsmen not just cricketers. We respect his decision to retire although many of us can't imagine an Indian team without Sachin."
Tendulkar began his international career in November 1989, and was the third youngest Test cricketer at the time. He established himself quickly in the middle order and after the early 1990s, he has remained the first name on India's team-sheet for the majority of his career.