Sachin Tendulkar, the cricketer, was a phenomenon. From the ‘Little Master’ to the ‘God of Cricket’ there is probably no phrase that was to capture the enigma that this batting legend was. For a personality such as his, quitting was never going to be easy.
Years after his retirement, Sachin has chosen to shed light on his retirement and has revealed that the thought of hanging his boots from international cricket came to his mind in October 2013 during a Champions League T20 match.
Tendulkar, who has recently joined professional networking site 'LinkedIn' as an 'Influencer', in a write-up titled 'My Second Innings' posted on Friday, shared his life after cricket, detailing his transition from the game to other projects.
“It was October 2013 during one of the Champions League games in Delhi. My mornings would start with a gym workout, a routine I had been following for 24 years. But that morning in October, something had changed," he wrote.
"I realised that I had to force myself to wake up and go about my day. I knew that the gym training was a critical part of my cricket -- something that had been my life for 24 years. Yet, there was reluctance. Why?
"Were these signs...signs that I should stop? Signs that the game that has been so dear to me, would no longer be a part of my daily routine?" the legendary cricketer, who is also a Rajya Sabha MP, said.
Tendulkar was part of the 2013 CLT20-winning Mumbai Indians side and played in three matches in Delhi -- on October 2, October 5 and October 6 (against Rajathan Royals in the final).
He went on to play his last two Test matches in Kolkata and Mumbai in November against the West Indies in a hurriedly arranged series before walking into the sunset.
Writing about the process of making the retirement decision, he wrote, "Sunil Gavaskar, one of my heroes and a former cricketer, once said that he made up his mind to quit the game when he found himself checking the clock, to see how much time there was left for the lunch and tea intervals.
“Suddenly I knew exactly what he meant. My mind and my body were telling me the same thing. Maybe, it's time to hang up my boots.
"I also remembered the words of Billy Jean King, at Wimbledon a few years ago - you will know for sure when to go, it will come from inside you, don't let the world decide when you have to retire.
"But what will a sportsman do if he's not a sportsman anymore? How do you prepare for a day when something that consumed each day of the 24 years of your life, isn't the focus anymore?
"The energising chant of 'Sachin, Sachin' that the crowds cheered each time I walked onto the field, was an indescribable feeling and rush. This probably won't be heard anymore. Was I ready for that? These thoughts and a discussion with my family and closest friends helped make up my mind. My innings was indeed coming to an end," he wrote.
"The years flashed before my eyes. The victories, the losses, the celebrations, the challenges and the silences ... the journey. India's win at the World Cup in 2011 was a dream come true as was the team's generous gesture of dedicating the cup to me. But, that chapter of my life was ending. What now, I wondered."
He said his "first innings was about chasing my dreams, the second one is about satisfaction".
(With inputs from PTI)