Mohali: Sachin Tendulkar said it was the team’s requirement and not records that mattered more to him.
Speaking to the press after his record-breaking effort here on Friday, Tendulkar noted, “My focus was on the team’s needs. Probably the thought about records is there in the sub-conscious mind since everybody keeps talking about them. But I have never played for records.”
However, he admitted to a quiet sense of satisfaction after becoming the first man to surpass 12,000 Test runs. “But I am happy about reaching the mark. It reflects my contribution to Indian cricket over the past 19 years.
“I am happy with what I have been able to achieve for the country. It’s not my record. It’s a record by an Indian. It’s a record for India,” he said.
Ups and downs
Talking about his long and enduring cricketing career, Tendulkar said “It has been a fantastic journey. It has not been about success alone. There have been ups and downs. “It’s the cycle of life. You learn and you evolve. Success is a process during a bigger journey. I have worked on the positives with great support from my family.”
He spoke about enjoying the game and not playing under any pressure. “When I started as a 16-year-old, there were no targets. I just enjoyed the game. I continue to do so. It is so important to enjoy the game.”
Queried about what went through his mind when he looked into the sun after setting a major batting record, Tendulkar revealed, “It was for two things. Firstly, I thanked the almighty. Then, I remembered my father. Had he been alive, he would have been a happy man today.”
Commenting on selection panel chairman Krishnamachari Srikkanth’s observation that he should continue representing India for at least three more years, Tendulkar said, “Yes, I will continue to play. I am feeling good. It’s for me to decide when I should stop.
“Nobody can tell me that. Some people have certain views and opinions. They may not always be right. I don’t have to prove anything to anybody. What matters more to me is the atmosphere in the dressing room and on the ground.
“And how we plan with the captain, the coach and the manager.”
Tendulkar said it was a nice coincidence that Srikkanth, his first captain in Tests, was the chairman of the selection panel when he became the highest run-getter in Test cricket.
Asked about the innings he recollected in an eventful career, he replied, “I remember my first hundred in England in 1990. It was an important innings for the team. Then I recall my hundreds in Sydney and Perth in 1992.
“They were two Test innings played in different conditions. The pitch in Sydney was slightly slow. The one in Perth had pace, bounce and movement. Those two innings gave me a lot of confidence.”
Tendulkar spoke about his time in the middle with Sourav Ganguly here on Friday. “We decided to keep our concentration going after the long fireworks display. Sourav reminded me of the fact that he was my partner when I scored my 35th Test hundred in Delhi. It was nice batting with him.”
He called the Indian captain Anil Kumble, “the greatest Indian bowler and someone with a big heart.” On the course the second Test could take, Tendulkar said, “The pitch is on the slower side. We need a big partnership tomorrow to move into a stable position.”