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Asia

Cricket legend Tendulkar opens a new innings

The retirement of Indian cricket legend Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar left many fans with an enormous feeling of dismay. Some say they will never watch cricket again - but the star himself still has plenty of plans.

Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar is regarded as the best batsman of his generation and one of the most successful cricketers of all time.

His retirement has left a huge void in the worldwide cricketing community. The pain, though, is especially raw in his home country of India where he is not so much a simple cricketer - but more like a god.

For a whole generation of Indian cricket fans, the idea of a national team without Sachin Tendulkar seems almost inconceivable. He represented the country for almost a quarter of a century in test matches, one-day internationals and the newer "Twenty20" form of the game.

In his career, Tendulkar amassed a record 15,921 runs in test cricket alone. He notched up 51 test centuries - as well as 18,426 with 49 centuries in 463 one-dayers

Tendulka's retirement even drew sighs of admiration from Pakistani cricket fans - to such an extent that the Pakistani Taliban felt impelled to cite the praise heaped upon him as "disloyal."

The 40-year-old, who played domestically for Mumbai, and as an overseas player for Yorkshire, waxes philosophical when he talks about his own career. "All my life, I have had a dream of playing cricket for India, " he told DW. "I have been living this dream every day for the last 24 years. Now it is over and I have to move on into another chapter of my life."

Indian player Sachin Tendulkar (C) walks with his children Arjun (R) and daughter Sara (L) after India defeated Sri Lanka in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 final played at The Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on April 2, 2011. India beat Sri Lanka by six wickets. AFP PHOTO/William WEST (Photo: WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images)

The player says he should make things up to his children, and spend more time with them

The greatest moment, Tendulkar says, was winning the 2011 Cricket World Cup, a goal of which he had always dreamt. "We won at home. I played one-day internationals to win this cup and it only came towards the end of my career."

Tendulkar is still not used to the idea of retirement. "It still has not hit me yet that I am not going to play cricket any more for India. But I manage to play with my son and that's been fun!"

Following on from greatness

Retirement has not meant less traveling and stress, with countless personal appearances and appointments across the country. "Honestly, it has been very hectic - a lot of things are happening around me at the moment. But still, since retirement, I have spent a fair amount of time with my family, which I was most looking forward to."

Tendulkar is especially happy about the fact that he can spend more time with his children. "Over the years I have felt sad for my children, Arjun and Sara, because I have spent so much time away from them due to cricket. Now my children are my priority!"

Indeed, the name Tendulkar may still feature in Indian cricket once again, with 14-year-old son Arjun having already played in a Mumbai youth team.

For a sporting legend such as Sachin Tendulkar, fulfilment in later life is always difficult. The question arises; What can some with such a long and successful career behind them do when it is all over?

Cricket fans walk on a sea wall while holding a banner in tribute to Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar outside a stadium in Mumbai November 16, 2013. Tendulkar did not get a chance to bat again in his final test but India's 'Little Master' was allowed to bowl a couple of overs on Saturday before drawing his 24-year glittering career to an emotional conclusion. (Photo: REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui)

For many India fans, any kind of future without Tendulkar is hard to envisage

The player - known by such epithets as "Master Blaster" and Little Master" - feels that, although the people have seen him play cricket for so many years, they have yet to know the real Sachin Tendulkar. "I am planning on an autobiography. People should know something about me," he said.

Still to declare his future

Tendulkar also wants to spend time on charity work. Amongst other roles, he is a brand ambassador for UNICEF. But he has still to figure out any grand plan.

"I am undecided at the moment. I want to spend time with my family, meet friends - do things I have not been able to do due to cricket - and recover from all the ills of playing professional sports for so many years."

Sachin Tendulkar

A career in politics is one possible route to be explored for the "Master Blaster"

Sachin has yet to weigh up his options. In cricket he could become a coach, an administrator or a television pundit. He also harbors an interest in politics which could lead into a political career. While he could, just possibly, walk away and become a private person, that looks very unlikely.

One thing that will always live in Tendulkar's heart is the love and affection of his fans. "I am overwhelmed by the reaction," he said, as we ended the interview. "It will always stay with me!"

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