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Tendulkar concedes retirement may not be far away

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NEW DELHI (AP)

Sachin Tendulkar admits he has been considering his retirement date lately and acknowledges the end of his extraordinary cricket career is not far away.

''I'm 39 and I don't I have plenty of cricket left in me,'' the Indian batting great told Times Now news channel in an interview aired on Friday. ''But it depends on my frame of mind and my physical ability to deliver. When I feel that I am not delivering what is needed, then I will relook at the scheme of things. I'm 39 and no one expects me to go on and on.''

Tendulkar, who holds many major batting records including most runs and most centuries in both tests and limited-overs internationals, said it was natural to think of retirement.

''It is not abnormal for me to think of it. At that moment, I will go by what my heart says. At this moment, my heart says I am okay. But I will have to look at it series by series,'' Tendulkar said ahead of a new season that will include challenging four-test tours of India by England and Australia.

Tendulkar, who has restricted his participation in one-dayers over the past few years and does not play Twenty20 internationals, said finally quitting all international cricket was going to be difficult.

''It's ... been my life. All of a sudden there comes a moment when I say I can't go on,'' he said. ''I don't know what is in store. If I knew, I would not have to wait 22 years to lift the World Cup. Perhaps, I would have done it the first time in Australia in 1991-92.''

A World Cup title had eluded Tendulkar until India finally clinched it in his hometown at Mumbai in 2011.

Speculation about Tendulkar's future plans was heightened after senior batsmen Rahul Dravid and V.V.S. Laxman announced their retirements this year and especially after he struggled during a two-test home series against New Zealand in August-September.

Tendulkar was bowled through bat and pad by Kiwi pace bowlers all three times he got to bat, with critics attributing it to his age.

''If this three-wicket ordeal had happened when I was 25, no one would have questioned it. Incidentally, it happened when I am 39, so questions were raised. This is natural,'' Tendulkar said.

''I need not take a call right now. When I play in November (against England), I will reassess things. I'm still the best judge of what happens to my mind and body. When I feel it is time, I will take a call,'' added Tendulkar, who became the first batsman to complete a century of international centuries earlier this year.

Tendulkar has scored 51 centuries in tests and 49 in one-day internationals. He has accumulated 15,533 runs in tests and 18,426 in ODIs.

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