India legend Sachin Tendulkar said it was “hard to believe a wonderful journey” had ended as he bowed out of international cricket in Mumbai.
In his 200th Test match, the 40-year-old batting icon’s final action came 24 years and one day after his Test debut.
He bowled two overs but did not bat again as West Indies capitulated for 187 to lose by an innings and 126 runs.
India players formed a guard of honour for Tendulkar, who was presented with a host of awards in a lavish ceremony.
Revered throughout his distinguished career, a clearly emotional Tendulkar told a packed Wankhede Stadium: “My life between 22 yards for [more than] 22 years. It’s hard to believe that wonderful journey is coming to end.
“It’s getting a little difficult to talk but I’ll manage. The most important person in my life, and I’ve missed him a lot since he passed away in 1999, is my father, without his guidance I don’t think I’d be standing in front of you.”
Tendulkar, who was dismissed for 74 in what proved to be his final Test inningson Friday, addressed his devoted fans in an on-field speech exceeding 20 minutes.
“When [captain] MS Dhoni presented me with the 200th Test match cap on day one I had a brief message for the team, I would like to repeat that,” he told a mesmerised audience.
“I just feel that all of us are so, so fortunate and proud to be part of the Indian cricket team.
“Knowing all of you guys, I know you will continue to serve the nation in the right spirit, the right values.
India fans celebrate the remarkable career of Test cricket’s highest runscorer Sachin Tendulkar
“I believe we have been the lucky ones. We have been chosen by the almighty to serve this wonderful sport.
“Each generation gets this opportunity to merely take care of the sport and to serve it to the best of our ability.
“I have full faith in you that you will continue to serve the nation in the right spirit, to the best of your ability, and bring all the laurels to your country.”
The International Cricket Council (ICC) paid tribute to Tendulkar, who played in 664 international matches, scored 34,357 runs and made 100 centuries.
Chief executive David Richardson, who played for South Africa against Tendulkar in the 1990s, said: “He was an exceptional cricketer who earned the utmost respect of his peers, team-mates, opponents and fans all over the world through his talent, performances and fierce competitiveness.
Cricket legends rate Tendulkar
“Sporting geniuses like Sachin are rare phenomenons and we are privileged to have seen him in action. On behalf of the ICC and the entire cricketing family, I thank Sachin for his unprecedented services to our sport and we wish him well in the future.”
The Windies began day three on 43-3, 270 runs from making India bat again, but faint hopes of a second innings for Tendulkar were thwarted as the tourists capitulated again and were all out before lunch.