When Sachin Tendulkar retires from the world of cricket, the sport will lose one of its truly great players. The legendary Indian Batsman announced that he will play his 200th and last test match next month against West Indies.

The 40-year-old former captain of the Indian national team had already retired from one-day internationals in December 2012, and had played his final Twenty20 match in early October. So his decision to leave all forms of cricket didn’t come as any surprise, but it was still a disappointment for many in the cricketing world.

Sachin TendulkarThe President of the Board of Control for Cricket in India said: “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’s last two games against the West Indies will give him a chance to add more glory to a career that’s been filled with amazing achievements. Born in Mumbai, he made his international Test debut for India at the tender age of 16 in November 1989. A year previous, while still at school he had racked up an astonishing 326 in the semi-finals of the Harris Shield. He had scored his first Test Century by 1990 against England at Old Trafford.

A short look at his career stats show just how extraordinary it was and how many records he made. In 2012 he became the only batsman in the history of cricket to reach 100 international centuries. He has also managed six double centuries in his career, with the 248 he scored against Bangladesh in 2010 remaining unbeaten.

After 24 years in the game, Tendulkar holds the record for most number of Test appearances, with 198, followed by Ricky Ponting and Steve Waugh on a joint 168. One of his most triumphant moments in a superlative career was an unbeaten 103 that inspired India to victory against England in 2008 not long after the terror attacks in Mumbai. And in a cricketing campaign marked by firsts, he became the first overseas player to sign for Yorkshire in 1992.

Messages of praise came in through Twitter following the news of Tendulkar’s retirement. Jonathan Agnew said: “Perfect symmetry to Sachin’s retirement: 200th Test, not confirmed, surely to be played in Mumbai. Also a charming man to deal with, which I have been fortunate to do many times.” And former England Captain Michael Vaughan wrote: “One of the greatest ever Sachin Tendulkar is retiring. One of my heroes and an absolute joy to play against.”

It’s not sure what lies ahead for the cricket great, after all he’s never known anything but cricket: “It’s hard to imagine a life without playing cricket because it’s all I’ve ever done since I was 11.” Whatever he does next, Tendulkar will almost certainly go down as one of the greatest cricketers to ever play the game.