Sachin Tendulkar
Sachin Tendulkar scored a wonderful unbeaten half-century to lead Mumbai to victory over HaryanaReuters

The journey, the stupendous journey of one of the greatest ever to play the game will end after a couple of Tests.

Sachin Tendulkar, as he always does, announced via a press release -- he had also done the same while quitting one-day international cricket in December 2012 -- his intention to retire from the sport he has graced for 24 years.

Tendulkar said in a media release released through the BCCI that he will call it quits after his 200th Tests, expected to be against the West Indies next month.

It should no come as much of a surprise, as there was much speculation about the Little Master's future, with the epic 200th Test, expected to be at his home ground of Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, always thought to be the perfect end to a sojourn that began as a teenager, and which saw him turn the sport upside down and create not just lovers of the game, but worshippers.

"All my life, I have had a dream of playing cricket for India. I have been living this dream every day for the last 24 years," Tendulkar said in a statement. "It's hard for me to imagine a life without playing cricket because it's all I have ever done since I was 11 years old.

"It's been a huge honour to have represented my country and played all over the world. I look forward to playing my 200th Test match on home soil, as I call it a day.

"I thank the BCCI for everything over the years and for permitting me to move on when my heart feels it's time. I thank my family for their patience and understanding.

"Most of all, I thank my fans and well-wishers who through their prayers and wishes have given me the strength to go out and perform at my best."

It is understood the West Indies tour was only created by the BCCI to ensure that Tendulkar plays his 200th, and now final, Test on Indian shores and that epic occasion is now going to be something that can only be imagined.

There is sure to be a sense of shock, even if the announcement in a sense seemed inevitable, and while the anticipation towards that 200th Test will now be unparalleled, there will also be a tremendous sense of sadness among everyone that loves the game of cricket.

It is the right time to call it quits for Tendulkar, but that does not take away the fact that he will be missed beyond compare - an Indian team without Sachin in its batting lineup is almost unimaginable.

"I have been an ardent follower and admirer of Sachin Tendulkar from the days he came to play Buchi Babu in Chennai," BCCI president N. Srinivasan said. "He is without doubt the greatest cricketer India has produced.

"In fact one should really say he ranks among the top of all-time great sports persons in the world. No one has served Indian cricket as Sachin has. He has truly been an ambassador for India and Indian cricket.

"He has been an inspiration for generations of sportsmen not just cricketers. We respect his decision to retire although many of us can't imagine an Indian team without Sachin."

Tendulkar holds numerous records to his name and will easily be the first player to reach 200 Tests.