For someone who has spent 75 % of his life playing cricket, it must have been a strange feeling for Sachin Tendulkar to wake up as a FORMER India cricketer the morning after bidding an emotional adieu to the game.

"I don't still has to strike me that I will not be playing cricket again," Tendulkar said during the course of a chaotic farewell press conference at a city hotel on Sunday evening.

The batting legend, a past master at masking his true emotions, said in jest, "I will go and play somewhere," before adding on a more serious note, "It has been a dream journey. No regrets that I am leaving cricket. This was the right time to stop playing."

Revealing how his first day as a retired cricketer started, Tendulkar said he got up at his usual time, but then realised he didn't have to go for training anymore and instead chose to have a sumptuous breakfast before replying to the numerous text messages that he had received. "I woke up at 6.50 a.m. I generally get up according to my body clock. But then I realised I don't need to take an early shower. So I made some tea for myself and had a lovely breakfast with my wife," he stated.

Dressed nattily in a BCCI blazer and tie, Tendulkar was at his chivalrous best as he patiently heard out some inane and banal questions and even took the trouble of answering them without a hint of irritation. His answers were laced with humour and repartee, which was refreshing to see.

For instance when he was asked if there was a chance of him getting knighted and being called Sir, he said "Sir (head) toh apni jagah pe hai...baaki kab hoga dekha jaayega."

Tendulkar had always maintained that he will walk into the sunset when he stopped enjoying the game. There was no evidence of that when he took the field at Lahli, Kolkata and Mumbai with the same zest like he has always done if not more.

Elaborating for the first time what really triggered the move to call it a day he said, "I was (still) enjoying the game. There were talks about my retirement for quite some time, but I've always said that when I get the feeling I'll let you guys know. I got that feeling.

"There comes a point when your body sends you messages like 'enough of this physical load.' I think the body requires rest then. The body wasn't taking that load consistently. For example when I had to go for training sessions, it was becoming an effort. It wasn't the case before. It was all automatic. I also would sit and watch TV (instead of training). When I tried to find an answer to why it was happening, that is when I felt it is the perfect time to leave the game."

For some, Tendulkar's career is about his humongous numbers. But what lies hidden under the heap of statistics is the number of young batsmen he has inspired to take up the sport and excel at it. Tendulkar, however, chose to play down his contribution.

"It's not that whatever I am saying is 100 % correct. I should also be prepared to listen to what they are saying in order to become a better student. Someone like Bhuvneshwar wasn't even born when I started playing for India. I would jokingly tell him to say 'Good Morning sir', when I enter the dressing room. Sharing my experiences and observations is something I have always enjoyed. I would love talking and breathing cricket till the last day of my life."

Sachin Tendulkar More Stills

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