At 2.30 pm, Sachin Tendulkar called board; They asked, 'Are you sure?'

FrontSachin Tendulkar at a Ranji game at the Palam Ground in Delhi earlier this year (IE Photo)

AT 2.30 pm Thursday, Sachin Tendulkar called up the Indian cricket board secretary Sanjay Patel, as protocol and propriety demanded, and told him about his intention to retire from cricket after his 200th Test - the one against the West Indies next month.

"Are you sure?" a stumped Patel was left repeating more than a couple of times as Tendulkar issued him precise but polite instructions on what needed to be done.

"He told me that he wanted to announce his retirement. He'd already spoken to the board president and wanted BCCI to issue a media statement and letter which he would mail, to be forwarded to the media," Patel told The Indian Express.

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The statement read: "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. 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.

"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 uneasy anticipation and looming inevitability of Sachin Tendulkar walking away from the sport after a quarter century of lording over it, had been in the air for some time now.

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