Tendulkar bids farewell with tears and cheers

Sat Nov 16, 2013 5:27am EST
 
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By Sudipto Ganguly

MUMBAI (Reuters) - Sachin Tendulkar struggled to hold back the tears as he soaked up the unconditional veneration of an Indian crowd for the last time when the sun set on the master batsman's glittering 24-year career on Saturday.

After his side completed the formalities of an easy victory over West Indies, Tendulkar collected a stump as a memento and slowly made his way through a mobile guard of honor formed by his team mates, head bowed and struggling to hide his emotions.

As television coverage broadcast images of a huge banner in the stands proclaiming "Legends Never Retire", the 40-year-old Tendulkar shook hands with opposing players and staff before climbing the stairs leading to the dressing room.

Tendulkar later returned with his wife Anjali, daughter Sara and son Arjun to make a moving and humble farewell speech at the presentation ceremony before completing a lap of honor on the shoulders of his team mates.

"All my friends settle down, let me talk. I will get more and more emotional," he said, his voice almost drowned by chants of "Sachin, Sachin" reverberating around his hometown Wankhede Stadium.

"It's getting little difficult to talk but I'll manage."

A solemn Tendulkar spoke for more than 20 minutes as the 32,000-strong crowd listened intently with hands folded as if in prayer and eyes moist with tears.

A day after the anniversary of his international debut against Pakistan in Karachi in 1989 as a mop-haired 16-year-old, Tendulkar finished his career as the sport's most prolific international run-scorer.   Continued...

 
School children wave as they hold a poster of Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar at an event to honour him inside a school in the southern Indian city of Chennai November 14, 2013. Cricket-crazy India will have a lump in the throat as its favourite son, Tendulkar, walks out for one last time this week to play the game he has dominated for nearly a quarter of a century. The 'Little Master' will bring the curtain down on a glittering 24-year career at the age of 40 when he plays his 200th test match, against West Indies, at his home ground starting on Thursday. REUTERS/Babu