Batman forever

One of the game's all-time greats, Sachin Tendulkar, on Sunday announced his retirement from one-day cricket, finishing an illustrious career in the 50-over format — having played 463 ODIs, scored 18,426 runs and made 49 centuries — each of them a world record.

"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," the 39-year-old said in a statement released by the BCCI.

"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," he added.

Tendulkar, who was considered next only to the legendary Sir Donald Bradman, retires from the ODI format at the top of the run-getters' list.He goes out after amassing 18,426 runs in 463 one-dayers at an average of 44.83. The diminutive right-hander has an astonishing 49 hundreds in the format, including a double hundred — a first in this form of the game.

Speculation over Tendulkar's future had grown after his continuing failures in the past one year. His last ODI hundred came in the Asia Cup in Bangladesh in March this year — a feat that completed an unprecedented 100 international tons.

"It was not sudden," Sanjay Jagdale, BCCI secretary, told reporters. "He spoke to me and the president about his decision. What he has expressed is his concern that India has to prepare for the next World Cup, he felt that it was time that he retired."

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