Sachin Tendulkar speaks to Ayaz Memon in an exclusive interview after scoring his record 35th ton against Sri Lanka in New Delhi on Saturday.
Sachin Tendulkar speaks to Ayaz Memon in an exclusive interview after scoring his record 35th ton
Two hours after making the world record, what are your thoughts?
It has yet to sink in completely. I am delighted, obviously, but haven’t had too much time or opportunity to think beyond that yet. We are playing a Test match, and I have to resume batting tomorrow.
Were you under a lot of pressure in the past year to score this 35th hundred?
The pressure was there, to be honest. Every person I met, especially in the last couple of months, would talk about the 35th hundred. Every conversation would turn to this subject. Little things add up.
Did you spend sleepless nights worrying about the landmark? What was your mood before this match?
It wasn’t bothering me so much. There is much more to life than records. I have always played the way I want to, and it has not been different in the past few months.
You looked out of rhythm and tense in Chennai and even in the first part of the innings here...
That was largely because of the wicket (in Chennai), which was slow. The ball had also gone soft, and stroke-making was difficult. They (the Sri Lankans) were also playing defensive cricket, so the runs were not easy to come by. Today, it was a matter of getting used to the pace of the wicket.
On 99 you edged dangerously past wide slip. Were you very tense?
Actually I was pretty relaxed. I knew what my score was because there was so much clamour from the stands. But I was not tense, even when I edged (Dilhara) Fernando. That was a good delivery, but at this level you have to expect it, every run has to be earned. You have to put your head down and concentrate again.
Even from a distance, it looked like you cried a bit just after getting the single for the 35th hundred...
Yes, I did shed some tears. I missed my father a lot at that moment. He meant the world to me. There are things I have learnt from him that I can never forget.
What was the celebration in the dressing room on your return?
Oh, everybody expressed their happiness, congratulated me. The whole team cut a cake, and there were two bottles of champagne. You can’t celebrate for too long, remember, the Test is only a day old!
The team looks to be in a strong position, and the performance has been in stark contrast to Chennai...
We have played well so far, but to do better in the Test we have to bat as long as possible and pile up a big total. I have a role to play still.
Is this record the culmination of a dream or the start of another?
I want to play on as long as possible. A lot of people have said a lot of things in recent times, but I understand my own fitness and form. I know that I still have something to contribute to Indian cricket.