Ton of tons no concern to Sachin Tendulkar: Sachin Tendulkar is on the brink of yet another record-breaking achievement as he heads into next week’s first Test against England at Lord’s just one century away from 100 international hundreds.
But the ‘Little Master’ insists he is not thinking of personal milestones and reckons any records he set “might be broken by someone else”.
The 38-year-old Tendulkar has already scored 51 Test hundreds and 48 in one-day internationals.
It would appear everything is set up for him to achieve a ‘fairytale’ century at Lord’s, the ‘home of cricket’ in next week’s first Test of four.
However, Tendulkar told the London Daily Telegraph: “I’m not thinking of records. I’m just thinking of enjoying this tour.
“The secret to any performance is not in chasing records. I think about, ‘What is the best way to enjoy the game, and how can I enhance that enjoyment factor?’,” added Tendulkar, whose four previous Tests at Lord’s have yielded a meagre top score of 37.
Ton of tons no concern to Sachin Tendulkar, “If I enhance the enjoyment then, naturally, the standard of play becomes higher. To me, that is more important. If I’m playing well, things can happen.” Someone who is hoping to delay Tendulkar from yet another landmark achievement is England Test captain Andrew Strauss.
“The longer it goes on, that he is on 99, the better,” Strauss said. We know what a quality player Sachin is.
“You only have to look at his record to see that,” added Strauss, who could find himself playing against Tendulkar later this week when he ‘guests’ for Somerset against India at Taunton — the tourists’ only warm-up fixture before the first Test.
Tendulkar achieved a goal even more cherished than a century of centuries when he helped India win the World Cup by beating Sri Lanka in a final played in front of his adoring home crowd in Mumbai in April.
“It was something I had always dreamt about,” he said. “You start playing cricket, and one day you walk away as part of a world champion team.
“I took up playing serious cricket because in 1983, we won the World Cup, and that was a big turning point in terms of considering cricket a full-time profession,” Tendulkar explained.
“That moment was a decisive one. I felt, ‘I want to play for India one day’. It was a huge boost. From then I started working hard.”
Tendulkar’s international career started at the age of 16 and for the past 22 years he has been subjected to a level of scrutiny and adoration few sportsmen ever experience at all, and then but briefly in their careers.
However, he insisted: “I’m used to it. It began around the age of 16. But I don’t feel suffocated. I feel extremely comfortable back home in whatever I do. That’s how my life has been, so I believe it’s normal.”
Perhaps the only batsman in history who has carried the hopes of a nation in the same way as Tendulkar was Australia icon Sir Donald Bradman, whose Test average of 99.94 remains unsurpassed.
Tendulkar met Bradman, who died 10 years ago, when he visited his home in Adelaide following India’s Test match in the city in 1992.
Bradman paid Tendulkar the compliment of saying he thought the Indian maestro’s batting was reminiscent of his own.
“To have the statement from Sir Don that my batting resembled his, that my style was exactly like his, it meant a lot,” Tendulkar said.
Although his batting has proved to be a statistician’s delight, Tendulkar wants his career to be about more than raw figures.
“For me, it’s not about breaking records or creating new ones. It’s about adding value to my team.
“Records will be set by me, they might be broken by someone else. They’re not going to stay permanently.
“But the impression that I leave on people will last forever, I feel.
“The impression that I leave behind — to me that is important.
“If I can motivate the next (generation of) young cricketers, that will be a big contribution.”