Tendulkar feared early end to career due to injury

Retired India batting star Sachin Tendulkar said Sunday he

feared his career was over when he dealt with tennis elbow in 2004

and that battling injuries had been the biggest challenge in a

sparkling 24-year international career.

”I felt my career was over when I had the tennis elbow

injury,” Tendulkar told a packed media conference hall a day after

his last day in international cricket. ”I could not even pick my

son Arjun’s plastic bat when I had the injury. When I went to the

ground for the first time after my surgery (in 2005), young

fielders were not letting my shots go beyond 10-15 yards. I thought

I can’t play anymore.”

Tendulkar, who wore an India team blazer to the post-retirement

press conference and was accompanied by his wife Anjali, said the

secret behind such a long career had been overcoming different

challenges and looking for solutions.

”I had rare injuries and it was not easy to come back. The time

I suffered the injuries were the most difficult time. But the

desire was so strong that I had to look for solutions,” Tendulkar

said.

Apart from the career-threatening tennis elbow, Tendulkar also

suffered injuries to his heel, toe, back and thigh and is reported

to have played through the 2003 World Cup in South Africa with a

finger injury.

Tendulkar, the most prolific batsman in international cricket

history, was given a grand farewell at his home ground at Wankhede

Stadium Saturday by an emotional crowd that turned out for the

second test against the West Indies.

The series was turned into the celebration of a career as

Tendulkar, who had retired from one-day internationals last year,

declared last month that the two home tests against the West Indies

would be his last.

Asked how he’d like to be associated with the game after his

retirement, Tendulkar said he’d need time to decide.

”Cricket is my oxygen and I’ve played cricket for 30 out of 40

years of my life,” he said. ”So that makes it 75 per cent of my

life. I will remain associated with the game though that may not be

in the immediate future.

”I played for 24 years and it’s just been 24 hours since I

retired, give me at least 24 days to decide,” he said with a

smile.

Tendulkar said he was confident he had made the right

decision.

”My body started giving the message: `enough of this physical

load.’ Training was becoming an effort and so I thought it was the

best time to leave the game,” he said.

Remembering a career in which he amassed 15,921 runs with 51

centuries in 200 tests and 18,426 with 49 centuries in 463

one-dayers, Tendulkar picked out two periods, both at World Cups,

as his best and worst.

”The 2011 World Cup was a high point because I had to wait for

22 years to lift it. The biggest disappointment was losing in the

2003 World Cup final – we were playing so well but could not cross

the final hurdle (against Australia),” Tendulkar said.

Apart from scoring the most runs and centuries in both tests and

one-day internationals, Tendulkar is also the first batsman to

score a double-century in one-day internationals and the only one

to hit 100 international centuries.