Milestone man's ODI journey ends

Sachin Tendulkar did not choose a grandstand innings to end his monumental limited-overs career. Instead, on December 23, he informed the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) of his decision to retire from one-day cricket. He also issued a written statement to the effect.

The BCCI announced Tendulkar’s decision to the public after the Indian teams for the two T20 matches and the three ODIs against Pakistan were picked.

Tendulkar’s official statement read: “I have decided to retire from the one-day format of the game. I feel blessed to have fulfilled the dream of being part of a World Cup-wining Indian team. 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.”

The world’s longest serving international cricketer had given sufficient hints of his intention to retire from one-day cricket after India had won the ICC World Cup in 2011. He did not play in 20 one-dayers at home and away against the West Indies and England and also opted out of India’s tour of Sri Lanka for the five-match ODI series.

It was his love to play many more games in Australia, and, of course, the opportunities that the Commonwealth Bank Tri-series offered him in his pursuit of a spectacular milestone of 100 international centuries that influenced him stay put in Australia after the four-Test series.

However, it was on March 16, 2012, in the Asia Cup match against Bangladesh, that he achieved the feat. He played one more match against Pakistan in the Asia Cup on March 18 and that has turned out to be his last ODI game.

Tendulkar faced just two deliveries before he was caught by Wasim Akram off Waqar Younis for 0 in his first ODI match, against Pakistan at the Jinnah Stadium, Gujranwala on December 18, 1989.

In his second ODI match, against New Zealand at Carisbrook, Dunedin, Tendulkar again faced just two balls and was dismissed for 0. It was not until his 79th ODI, against Australia at the Premadasa Stadium in Colombo, that he notched his first century. Thereafter Tendulkar ruled the roost in a manner that revealed his creative style. It just went well with the abridged format of the game wherein he proved to be a titan.

G. Viswanath