Mumbai - Newly-retired cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar said on Sunday that it was the "perfect time" for him to leave the game after his body began to struggle with the physical pressure.
The record-breaking batsmen made a tearful final departure from the field on Saturday after his 200th Test match, bringing to an end an unusually long and glittering career spanning 24 years.
The 40-year-old, the world's leading scorer in both Test and one-day cricket and a national hero in India, said his body had told him that it was time to put away his bat.
"I've had a lot of injuries. It's not easy to overcome all those injuries," he told reporters in his hometown Mumbai, where he played his final match.
"Somewhere in life and you reach a stage when your body gives you a message, enough of this physical load. I think the body requires rest."
The only batsman ever to score 100 international centuries, he admitted it was "becoming an effort" to complete training sessions.
"This is the perfect time to leave the game," he added.
With his last international century nearly three years ago, some had suggested Tendulkar's retirement should have come sooner, but the "Little Master" bowed out with his god-like popularity intact across India.
The crowd at the Wankhede stadium wept with him on Saturday and deafeningly cheered his name after the match against the West Indies came to a close.
He made an emotional and poignant speech on the field thanking everyone who had supported him, before being hoisted on his teammates' shoulders for a lap of honour around the field.
Tendulkar, who made a cup of tea and had a "relaxed" breakfast with his wife Anjali after waking up on Sunday, said the finality of his retirement was yet to sink in.
"I don't know why but it is yet to strike me that I'm not going to play cricket anymore," he said.
"Cricket has been my life, cricket was oxygen for me."
Tendulkar remained tight-lipped over his future plans, but said he would like to help "the next generation" of cricketers and stay associated with the game on some level.
"It's just 24 hours I've been retired, at least give me 24 days to take rest. I'll decide after that," he joked with the media.
After his farewell match, he became the first sportsperson to receive the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian award, which he dedicated to his own mother and all other Indian mothers for the "thousands" of sacrifices they make for their children.