Kolkata: Batting great Sachin Tendulkar Sunday bid adieu to the Indian Premier League, two days after his illustrious former India teammate Rahul Dravid, and moments after his side Mumbai Indians were crowned champions at the iconic Eden Gardens.
Tendulkar, who retired from ODIs in December last year, missed Sunday’s final against two-time champions Chennai Super Kings due to an injury on his left wrist he picked up while batting against Sunrisers Hyderabad May 13.
“This is my last IPL. I had taken the decision before the start of the tournament,” said the 40-year-old Tendulkar in a matter of fact way as the TV interviewer was taken aback.
“I have waited 21 years to win the first World Cup and six years for the IPL. It has been a great and memorable journey with the team,” said Tendulkar, who got a grand send-off as he was lifted by his team mates before the customary victory lap.
Tendulkar’s wife Anjali also joined in minutes later.
“We have to be realistic about it. I’ve played six seasons with the Mumbai Indians and I have completely enjoyed it. This was the best season for Mumbai Indians. Before this, 2010 was the best season,” he said.
Soon after, his teammates clamoured to get him in the centre while posing for group photographs.
“This is the perfect time to say thank you to my supporters and well-wishers. I cannot wait to lift the trophy,” said the little master.
Tendulkar scored 2,334 runs averaging 34.83 in 78 IPL matches. He has a strike rate of 119.81 and struck one century and 13 fifties.
“I think this is the right time to stop playing the IPL. I am 40. Got to accept it. I had decided this was my last season.”
Friday night, another Indian great Dravid had announced his retirement from the IPL after his side Rajasthan Royals went down to Mumbai Indians in the play-off.
Days ago, Australian legend Adam Gilchrist also announced his decision to quit playing the tournament.