Sachin Tendulkar has announced he will retire from international cricket after playing his 200th Test against West Indies next month.
Tendulkar made his international debut for India in 1989 aged just 16 and has gone on to become the all-time leading run-scorer in Tests and one-day internationals although his form has stagnated in the last couple of years.
“It’s been a huge honour to have represented my country and played all over the world. I look forward to playing my 200th Test match on home soil, as I call it a day,” said the 40-year-old in a statement on the Board of Control for Cricket in India website.
Tendulkar added: “All my life, I have had a dream of playing cricket for India. I have been living this dream every day for the last 24 years. It’s hard for me to imagine a life without playing cricket because it’s all I have ever done since I was 11 years old.
“I thank the BCCI for everything over the years and for permitting me to move on when my heart feels it’s time! I thank my family for their patience and understanding.
“Most of all, I thank my fans and well-wishers who through their prayers and wishes have given me the strength to go out and perform at my best.”
The Little Master, regarded as the greatest living batsman, retired from ODIs last year as part of an effort to usher in a new era for Indian cricket as well as to focus on Tests.
However, Tendulkar has not registered a century in 21 matches in the longest format and a decision over his future had been mooted for quite some time.
Nevertheless, that should not detract from an illustrious international career that began when he was just a teenager against Pakistan in Karachi in November 1989.
He made the first of an unprecedented 51 Test centuries in his ninth match the following year, against England at Old Trafford, although his now infamous failure to reach three figures at Lord’s will remain a rare blot on his copybook.