Sachin Tendulkar, arguably the best one-day batsman ever, has retired from 50-over cricket. Tendulkar played in 463 ODIs, during the course of which he scored 18,426 runs with 49 centuries and 96 half-centuries, all of them world records. He averaged 44.83 in the format and had a strike-rate of 86.23. He was also the first male cricketer to make one-day double-hundred.
In a statement given to BCCI President, N Srinivasan, Tendulkar said: “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.”
His retirement is not entirely a surprise given that he has often opted out of playing one-day series over the last few years. His last one-day innings was a half-century against arch-rivals Pakistan during the Asia Cup earlier this year. It was during the same tournament that he made his hundredth international hundred.
Tendulkar’s blossoming as an ODI batsman was all the more remarkable given that he took 79 matches to make his first ODI hundred. It was his promotion to opener that changed the trajectory of his one-day career. Over 344 matches opening the batting, he scored 15,310 runs at an average of 48.29, with 45 of his 49 hundreds. His ability to take on and dominate the opposition’s opening bowlers often gave India the psychological advantage even before the first ball was bowled.
He saved his best for the big occasions, averaging a staggering 56.95 with six hundreds from 45 matches across six World Cups and was the tournament’s leading scorer in 2003. India’s victory in the 2011 World Cup filled the one gap Tendulkar felt he had in his CV. Emphasising his ability to perform when the pressure was highest, he also averaged 54.44 in tournament finals, with six hundreds from 39 games.
Beyond the numbers, Tendulkar also left his fans with many indelible memories, from hitting a pumped up Shoaib Akhtar for six in Centurion in the 2003 World Cup to crush Pakistan’s spirit to his 200 not out against South Africa in Gwalior in 2010 a few months shy of his 37th birthday.
Tendulkar’s ODI career began and ended against Pakistan. He made his debut against them in 1989 in Gujranwala, where he made a duck. He was adequate in the middle order but switched to opening the batting in 1994 and made an instant impact with 82 in 49 balls against New Zealand.