India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni today saluted 'role model' Sachin Tendulkar for inspiring an entire generation of cricketers after the hosts crushed a hapless West Indies by an innings and 126 runs in the master batsman's farewell match to complete a 2-0 series whitewash.
A teary-eyed Tendulkar bade adieu to his beloved game in his home ground at the Wankhede Stadium, bringing the curtains down on his illustrious 24-year-old career.
"I think it's the biggest match in the cricketing history. It's something we won't witness again. Thank you Sachin for being such a role model for all of us. Not only as a cricketer, but the way he has led his life, he is a role model for all," said Dhoni at the post-match presentation ceremony.
Tendulkar played the game he loved the most with dignity and left the 22-yard strip as dignified as ever.
His feverish retirement bash saw specially-minted coins, embossed with Tendulkar's image on one side, being presented to match officials.
Tendulkar himself received a momento from Maharashtra Cricket Association president Sharad Pawar on behalf of the the Sri Lankan government, a special trophy from Star CEO Uday Shankar. He was also felicitated by Mumbai Commissioner of Police Satyapal Singh and the MCA.
Dhoni also had words of appreciation for his batsmen and bowlers for putting up an impressive show and said it was a "complete performance" from the team.
"I think it's a complete performance from the side. It was fantastic. The batsmen batted really well and when the opportunity came the bowlers got wickets. I think there was much for spinners in Kolkata but the way (Mohammed) Shami bowled, he gave us the edge that we needed. You want that kind of individual performances to boost the morale," he said.
A dejected West Indies skipper Darren Sammy conceded that India taught them a lesson on how to play Test cricket.
"We have to pull together and come out even stronger. It's a reality check (for us). We came here on the back of winning six Tests but India taught us how to play Test cricket," he said.