What next for Sachin Tendulkar? 'Little master' on life after cricket

All the answers Sachin Tendulkar gave at his press conference in Mumbai

On retirement decision and how it feels

To play for my country was the most important thing for me. In those 24 years, different challenges came but the desire to play for the country — I had to find solutions for them. The family, friends and coaches were with me and it was a dream journey for me.

It hasn't struck me that I'm not going to play anymore cricket. Well I'll find some place to play!

I have no regret that I'm leaving cricket and I thought this was the right time to stop playing -- but it was an enjoyable journey.

I was enjoying cricket, but honestly I had maintained that when I felt I would stop, I would tell you. There were many questions about retirement and I got that feeling. I felt that after 24 years, and you have to appreciate it was not easy to overcome injuries too.

Somewhere a stage comes when your body says, 'enough' and the body requires rest. I felt my body was not taking this load consistently. Training sessions were becoming an effort. When I saw a question mark — the answer was that this is the perfect time to leave the game.

 What next for Sachin Tendulkar? Little master on life after cricket

Sachin Tendulkar. Getty Images

I had requested the BCCI if they could keep my last game in Mumbai because my mother had never seen me play a single ball before this. She never told me she wanted to see a game and I wanted to keep this a surprise but well, she got to know from the media. This match was for her and very special for me.

Today, I woke up at 6.50 AM and suddenly realised that I don't have to quickly shower and get ready for a match. I made myself a cup of tea and enjoyed a nice breakfast with my wife. It was a relaxed morning. I spent a lot of time responding to all the messages I got.

On the farewell yesterday

I can't ask for anything else after seeing the farewell I got.

(On question whether Windies were weak opposition and took sheen off retirement) Please understand, West Indies have world class players. There are ups and downs -- sometimes things don't work out. They play cricket in right spirit and that is what matters. As long as you play the game the way it is to be played, I give you full marks.

Never in my life during an international match would I be able to touch the pitch and pay it respect -- the 22 yards is like a temple for me. So I wanted to say a big thank you to cricket and every time I bat I touch the pitch. I didn't say it, but I thank cricket for everything. Simple as that.

Walking back to the pitch was very emotional. When I took the decision I wasn't that emotional because I knew it was the right decision. But I got emotional during the sendoff from my team. I got emotional when I was speaking to the wicket -- to the pitch. When I see those moments I get emotional. The thought that I wouldn't represent India on that pitch again made me emotional.

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When I went back to the wicket and realised it was the last time I was standing in a packed stadium and would never have a bat in my hand playing for India. I could think of all those moments during that walk. I couldn't look up while walking back because I was in tears and didn't want anyone to see me that way.

On the Bharat Ratna

Yesterday I said that the Bharat Ratna is for my mother for all the sacrifices she's made right from my birth:

My parents have sacrificed everything and the beauty about it is that I was never told - 'we did this for you', so this award is for my mother - but not just my mother, but like my mother there are millions of mothers who sacrifice for their children. I want to share this award with all those mothers

I would also like to congratulate Prof CNR Rao -- it's a great honour to be named alongside him because his contribution to science is immense. It's just that cricket is played in front of thousands, what he does is not like that so I want to congratulate him.

I'll say that this award I accept in behalf of every sportsperson. I'm glad the door has opened for sportspersons (Bharat Ratna) and I hope more sportspersons and their contributions get appreciated.

On his family and support system

I could reach till here because of Achrekar sir -- and other coaches' guidance too. I had on-field and off-field relations with sir. Our relationship's beauty is this -- in words I can't describe it. But sir never told me 'well played' and the reason was that I don't get complacent and so that I respect the game -- which is bigger than anyone. After so many runs I thought he'd say well played so yesterday I joked that sir, now is the time. (However), Achrekar sir called me after the Bharat Ratna yesterday and said well done.

I was representing Ajit and India too. It's hard to describe what he's done for me. Yesterday when I spoke to him he wasn't showing me his emotions but he looked relieved and relaxed too.

I was able to perform because nobody at home was carried away in celebration. It was balanced. Like any other Indian family, we would buy sweets and keep them in front of God. Even yesterday my mother did the same.

My mother was extremely happy after the 74. Earlier I thought she may/may not come because it's hard for her to travel. After witnessing the first day she sat for some time and I was so worried she may not sit the whole day. But she preferred being there and watching each ball! It was special and I could see in her eyes what it meant.

As a father, I'll say please leave Arjun Tendulkar alone. Don't pressurise him that I have done this so he has to do it too. If it was like that, I would have had a pen in my hand and not a bat — considering my father was a professor. Arjun is mad about cricket and that is what matters. About performances — I won't put pressure on him — and you must not too. Leave any player alone and he'll enjoy cricket.

On his injuries

During injuries, it was a hard time because all my injuries were uncommon. To overcome and play again is not easy and I had different goals and time limits. The body getting healed depends a lot on nature and it is important to respect that. I thought at times that my career was over and I wouldn't pick up a bat again. After tennis elbow surgery I wasn't able to pick a plastic bag for Arjun! I was hitting the ball hard after the surgery but it would go 10-15 yards and I thought I can't play anymore. It was a hard phase in my life.

What now?

Even though I'm not playing for India, my heart will always be for India. It doesn't matter whether I'm in the team or not. In any field, India comes first and then the rest.

Cricket is my oxygen — out of 40 years of my life I've played cricket for 30. So 75% of my life is cricket. There will be some association with cricket, maybe not in the immediate future though.

(On opening an academy): I have spent time with U-19 players and Ranji players, I just don't make these things public. I have thoroughly enjoyed those interactions and I will continue to do so — not publicly but with a low profile. I would like to continue to share my thoughts with youngsters.

On Gen Next

All the guys -- I've thoroughly enjoyed being part of the team. Jokingly I've told guys to tell me 'good morning sir' when enter the dressing room! If you are prepared to understand what youngsters are telling you, you learn more about the sport. I think this will continue. I've shared my experiences with them and it's fun to do all that and not because I'm the senior-most member -- it's about breathing cricket. It doesn't matter what stage of life you're in.

(On cricket coaches): It's not about foreign coaches -- it's about who is coaching, how, the results and whether they are consistent. To me, it's not about Indian or foreign -- he should understand the players and should be like a friend. We all know how to play a cover drive... it's not about technique, it's about the things between your ears -- so who do you go to then? As long as the relation between coach and player is healthy and if a player can confide in a coach and know that it won't be leaked out. To have that confidence is very important.

Moments

Two special moments were winning the World Cup -- had to wait a lot -- 22 years. The other was yesterday's farewell and how people responded. I don't know how to react to that! I think it was really really special.

(Favourite moments against England): First 100 I scored at Old Trafford and the second was chasing in Chennai in 2008.

(Disappointing moment): 2003 World Cup final loss and how we didn't cross the final hurdle.

Campaign to get cricket into Olympics? It's been hardly 24 hours since I retired... and you're engaging me in a campaign. Give me some time and we'll give things a thought.

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Updated Date: Nov 18, 2013 09:14:51 IST