NEW DELHI - India batting great Sachin Tendulkar announced his retirement from one-day cricket on Sunday amid speculation he was contemplating retirement from all forms of international cricket.
"I have decided to retire from the one-day format of the game," Tendulkar said in his announcement. "I feel blessed to have fulfilled the dream of being part of a World Cup-winning Indian team. The preparatory process to defend the World Cup in 2015 should begin early and in right earnest.
"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."
Tendulkar, the most capped player in one-day internationals with 463 games and also the batsman with most runs (18,426) and centuries (49) in the 50-over format, made the announcement as national selectors were in the process of announcing the team for an upcoming limited-overs home series against Pakistan.
Former chief selector Krishnamachari Srikkanth said he was shocked at the timing of his retirement.
"Sachin's announcement has come as a big surprise," Srikkanth told the CNN-IBN news channel. "I thought he would play in the one-day series against Pakistan."
The 39-year-old Tendulkar, who is also the highest scorer in tests (15,643) and holds the record of most test centuries (51) in 194 games, had been under pressure to retire in recent months owing to the retirements of Rahul Dravid and V.V.S. Laxman as well as his own indifferent form since last year's World Cup.
Tendulkar had been selective in playing one-day games over the past two years but completed an unprecedented 100 international centuries earlier this year during the Asia Cup in Bangladesh.
The Mumbai batsman had the knack of being among the runs in big international tournaments like the World Cup and his retirement brings an end to a golden generation of cricketers in the one-day format that included former captain Sourav Ganguly, Dravid and Anil Kumble.
Tendulkar scored the maximum runs in two editions of the World Cup - 673 to ensure India made the final in 2003 and 523 when India made the semifinals in 1996. In 2011, he was the second top run getter (482) behind Sri Lanka's Tillekaratne Dilshan (500) but winning the tournament more than made up.
His absence had also been felt in the 1999 World Cup when India failed to advance from the Super Eights, losing a crucial game to Zimbabwe when Tendulkar had to go home due to his father's death. Tendulkar returned to England and got a century against Kenya but India could not reach the knockouts.
"Winning the World Cup (in 2011) is the proudest moment of my life. ... I couldn't control my tears of joy," Tendulkar said after attaining a long-time dream at his home ground Wankhede Stadium on April 2 last year.
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