Sachin declares his ODI innings over

FP

Twenty-three years after he made his ODI debut, 20 months after crowning his unparallel body of work with that elusive World Cup, and after days of feverish speculation about his future, Sachin Tendulkar has decided not to wear the India blues again.

The semi-retirement comes in the middle of his worst slump (last Test hundred was in January 2011; last 50 in January 2012) and on eve of the Indian team's selection for the T20 and ODI games against Pakistan. Late on Saturday night, Tendulkar called up BCCI president N Srinivasan and secretary Sanjay Jagdale to convey his partial withdrawal from international cricket.

It is learnt that the 39-year-old, after labouring over the decision for days, finally made up his mind after he had a heart-to-heart with his Mumbai senior and chairman of the national selection committee, Sandeep Patil. In these times of change in Indian cricket, the selectors had made up their minds to move on and Tendulkar was ready to make way.

On Sunday, in a press statement, Tendulkar in a way hinted at this. "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."

Tendulkar hasn't played the shorter-version format since March 2012 but still the official ODI retirement isn't inconsequential in the context of his future in the game. 'No' to ODI is seen as a 'yes' to Tests. At least for the series against Australia early next year.

While that will see him add to his tally of 194 Tests, the ODI chapter is closed. Finally, forever. That 50-over format run count that has been tirelessly ticking since 1989, has finally come to a standstill. 'Matches: 463, Runs: 18,426, Hundreds: 49' is how Tendulkar, the ODI player, will be remembered statistically.

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