Sachin Tendulkar India
Sachin Tendulkar is given a guard of honour by his India teammatesBCCI

Sachin Tendulkar said his retirement from cricket has yet to sink in yet, but insisted it was the right time to go.

Tendulkar ended an incredible 24-year tryst with cricket on Saturday, when India beat the West Indies in the second Test at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.

"It hasn't struck me that I won't play cricket again," Tendulkar told reporters at a press conference in Mumbai. "It has been a dream journey, no regret that I'm leaving cricket. This was the right time to stop playing cricket. An enjoyable journey."

Cricket has overwhelmed the Little Master's life so much over the past several years that Tendulkar admitted it was nice to just relax and have some much-needed family time with his family on the first morning since his retirement.

"When I woke up this morning [at 6.50 a.m.], well I don't need to quickly have a shower and get ready for the match," he said. "I enjoyed a quiet breakfast with my wife, lot of guys sent me their best wishes. I spent a lot of time thanking them. Morning was relaxed, and then here I am in front of you."

Picking his debut hundred against England in 1990 and the magnificent century against the same opposition in Chennai in 2008 as two of his favourite knocks, Tendulkar revealed his body was the one that decided it was time to call it a day.

"I was still enjoying cricket," the 40-year-old said. "I have always said the day I felt I should stop playing, I would inform you. I got that feeling, because after 24 years, you have to appreciate I had many injuries, not easy to overcome.

"You reach a stage when your body gives you a message, enough of this physical load. The body requires rest. The body is not able to take more load consistently.

"The training sessions were becoming an effort. Sometimes I felt I should just sit and watch TV. These were raising questions in my mind, and I needed to find answers. So I requested the BCCI that if these two matches are to be my last, if possible, arrange the last one in Mumbai.

"My mother had never seen me play. I wanted this to be a surprise to my mom. But through the media, she came to know of it. But coming back to the question, the moment I got the feeling I should stop playing, I stopped."

Tendulkar is not someone who shows his emotions too much on the field, but the Little Master admitted his last day as an international cricketer did bring out all the feelings out into the open.

"It was an emotional moment, I remember when I was thinking about retirement I don't think I was very emotional because I knew it was the right decision even though my family was," he added.

"I became emotional with the way players gave me a send-off, when I was taking the wicket. Normally I am not very emotional because I knew it was the right decision. The thought that I won't be able to represent India again made me emotional.

"The first moment when I went on the wicket and stood between the 22 yards, I realised this was the last time I was in front of a packed stadium as part of the Indian team. That made me quite emotional, that I wouldn't have a bat in my hand, playing for India."

The question that is foremost on everyone's mind is if Tendulkar will still be associated with the sport that has given him so much and vice versa. The answer, was probably yes, but not immediately.

"I played cricket for 24 years for India, and that was a great thing for me," he said. "I faced lots of challenges, but the desire to play for India was so strong that we came up with solutions to those challenges. It was a dream journey, with my family and friends supporting.

"Cricket has been my life, it is oxygen to me. In 40 years, at least 30 years I have played proper cricket. 75 percent of my life has been cricket, so there will be some association with the game, maybe not in the immediate future. Still, it is only 24 hours since my retirement." 

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