Describing Sachin Tendulkar as the backbone of Mumbai Indians, batsman Ambati Rayudu dedicated the team's maiden IPL triumph to the senior batsman who announced his retirement from the cash-rich Twenty20 league.
"I think he is the one who is the backbone of the team," Rayudu said of the Master Blaster, who played just 14 matches this season after being laid low by a hand injury.
The 40-year-old Tendulkar announced his retirement on Sunday night after Mumbai beat Chennai Super Kings by 23 runs at the Eden Gardens to capture their maiden IPL trophy.
Rayudu said the triumph was a result of four seasons of hard work. (Watch: We wanted IPL 6 title badly, says Rohit Sharma)
"This is extraordinary! Four years of hard work. We have come so close before and were really very hungry for it. This is beyond words," Rayudu told IPLT20.com.
"I think the unbeaten run at home set the tone for the playoffs," he added.
The MI batsman was also left amazed by the enthusiastic crowd that turned up at the Eden.
"It is unbelievable how a packed Eden Gardens witnessed us. It is a dream. There is nothing better than this," he said.