MIRPUR: It was a match of "mixed emotions" for Sachin Tendulkar after Bangladesh upset India even as the batsman himself conquered an elusive personal summit.
Sachin reached the 100th hundred milestone with probably the most lustily cheered single of his career - a clip towards square leg off the bowling of Shakib-al Hasan, but the celebration was muted, just a characteristic look skywards with arms raised and a kiss planted on the India logo on the helmet.
After the disappointment of watching the Bangladesh batsmen cart India's bowlers all over the park, he told reporters: "I am not God. I am Sachin Tendulkar."
He admitted the long wait of 33 innings for the ton frustrated him at times. "I felt even after 22 years, the cricket god was testing me over the last one year. I will be honest, I was frustrated at times, but I never gave up," Tendulkar said. "It's a wrong notion that I didn't go to West Indies to get my 100th hundred in England. You can never plan your hundreds, if I could, I would have been something else.
"I came so close so many times. I could have got it in Oval (against England), in Mumbai (against Windies) or in the first two Tests in Australia. My feet were moving so well, I just didn't know why it was not coming. It was difficult, those who haven't gone through it won't know how difficult it was."
Next came the loaded question. Now that he has reached the magic mark, what's the next milestone for him? "I've never played cricket for milestones. While playing, I have ended up breaking a few records, but that was never my goal. I play cricket just because I enjoy the game. The 100th hundred was the most difficult."
Just after completing his century, Tendulkar "thanked God". "I was not looking at the scoreboard. I just took it one ball at a time and looked to do it for the team. Even after completing my century, my job was not done."
Tendulkar had turned out for practice a couple of days before the Bangladesh game with a couple of young guys in tow. How does he explain that dedication even after so many years of international cricket?
"It's never too bad to practice, isn't it? Yes, it was my off day and I wanted to get a feel of things and that's why I turned up. At the end of the day, I love the game and that's why I am here."
The defeat in the game came up for discussion and the obvious query was whether India played a little too slow? "I don't think so. We had a look at the wicket and decided that 275-80 was a decent score. We were well on track, but Bangladesh played really well and won the game. Don't forget they are a decent side and could have won against Pakistan also."
Now that the 100th hundred is done, is he going to call it quits?
"If I decide to retire, it won't be done secretively. I will let you guys know. As of now, I am enjoying the game," Sachin said, promising to enthrall cricket lovers for some more time to come.
When he was batting, it seemed the Indian team was on a mission to help Tendulkar get to the mark. Sporting a new hairdo, Tendulkar's free-flowing shots dried up the moment the ton became a possibility. Suresh Raina, his partner, walked up to him, asked him to stick with the singles, and started taking all the risks.
Tendulkar had clearly decided that he wouldn't give it away this time. After all, he had made 80-plus scores four times in the past year without hitting a ton. The most treacherous stretch, of course, was the 90s.
A boundary early on brought the pressure down a bit and he was merely one shot away. Overs went by, impatience grew, and a few jibes started flying about. But none of this reached Tendulkar's ears. It was his tryst with a landmark he had crossed 99 times before.
Finally, the moment came on the four ball of the 43rd over. As the whole stadium stood up, the Bangladesh players rushed in to congratulate.
"Enjoy the game and chase your dreams, I think dreams do come true," he said after the knock.
Former Pakistan cricketers shower Sachin Tendulkar with praises
PTI | Mar 16, 2012, 09.54PM IST
KARACHI: Pakistan cricket fraternity today heaped praise on Sachin Tendulkar and said his record of scoring the 100th international century would remain an unmatchable achievement.
"I think he has achieved a milestone that others can only dream off. But I give full credit to the Indian cricket authorities and selectors for backing him all these years," said former skipper Javed Miandad.
"There was a time specially after the World Cup when there was pressure on the authorities to ask Tendulkar to call it a day but they stuck by him and supported him and that is why he has achieved this great honor for his country," said Miandad, who played in the Test at Karachi in 1989 in which Tendulkar made his debut.
He felt the retirement decision should be left to Sachin. "I don't think age should be any criteria. If he feels he can continue to score runs for India he should carry on."
Another former captain Zaheer Abbas also hailed Tendulkar's achievement.
"I scored 100 hundreds in first class cricket and I know how it feels to reach this milestone. Tendulkar has by scoring his 100th century today shown just what a great player he has been for India," said Abbas.
Abbas also felt that Tendulkar besides his run-scoring feats had also been an admirable ambassador for his country and the sport.
"He has remained down to earth despite all these records to his name."
But former wicketkeeper-batsman Rashid Latif advised Tendulkar to call it a day.
"What he has achieved is simply astonishing and a tribute to his love for the game and his craftsmanship. But having achieved this milestone, I think it is the best time for him to step down and retire," said Latif.
Latif felt that for Tendulkar it was important to go out on a high note and be remembered as a great. "I don't think this record is ever going to be broken at least not in our lifetime. But I wouldn't like to see that day when some people say he should be dropped."
Former skipper Moin Khan said that Tendulkar should carry on as long as he is fit and hungry for runs.
"It would be a joke to believe that a player who has just scored his 100th hundred in international cricket should retire. No, I think he should carry on playing and serve Indian cricket for few more years."
Former leg-spinner and chief selector Abdul Qadir said, "I played against him when he was just a teenager and one could see the immense potential in him. In a way I am not surprised that today he has scored his 100th hundred and I don't see anyone breaking this record in future."
He has been dismissed 20 times between the score of 90 and 99 and 17 times between the score of 80 and 89. Add to this 9 dismisses in 90s in Tests.
Wish he had converted atleast half of those.
To all those who question the number of wins for India when he scores a hundred, I ask them this, how many times has India has had a lethal bowling unit to take 20 wickets in tests to win? For te first half of His career, he was a one man army who restored some pride in an otherwise horrible display especially abroad. He has more centuries abroad than in India and we never had te fast bowlers to take 20 wickets.
Comparisons to Sehwag and Dhoni is made in terms of centuries in winning cause. But then the last half a dozen years has seen a sea change in Indian attitude with a desire to win. But the nineties was spent in securing a draw first than win. They played under fear of losing and went for a draw at the outset.
There is no comparison. A Tendulkar in the Aussie team would have made them even more lethal and they would have probably won all the matches.
People who call him names and jinxed etc are a bunch of ungrateful lot who do not recognize his selfless service to Indian cricket. I mean how frustrating would it have been for him to see his side lose or draw a match where he scored a hundred all because his team mates were not competent enough like him. Spare a thought.
The common joe of cricket in India is like this. Sachin does not score he should be dropped/retire. Sachin scores but not a hundred, he is barring for a hundred and its preying on his kind. He scores a hundred and people say why he did as he is jinxed!! Seriously never seen such fickle support for ones team.
sachin is a legend.from my childhood i see how this man battle alone for india's victory.but others don't help him.opposition targets him alone.still he performs.sachin inspires the indian youth to reach sky.sachin is a true gentleman of cricket.it earns him respect from worldwide.even after best batsman of world he is modest,gentle.he is the hero of mass indian people.may be not in the eyes anymore of some idot tv anchor,some clueless internet users youth.
i went to toi,the hindu,ndtv site that shock me majority of them blaming sachin plays selfishly to get his 100th ton.sachin and selfishness!the man who plays for india last 22years selflessly gets the blame.sachin resgine indian captaincy by thinking india's interest.sachin always think about country.today we see sehwag,dhoni's ego clash.but think about sachin this man play under his 9 years junior dhoni's captaincy.but never he feels any complex.
sachin has most match wining 100than any other players in the world though his team has one of the world's weakest bowling line up.if he had some decent bowler in his team.than the number would be increased.for india's exit from asia cup its india's good for nothing bowling line up responsible not sachin.irfan,dinda,praveen,ashwin's bowling was horrible.specialy bowling of irfan and dinda.praveen also fail to perfom the role of most experiance bowler in the absance of zaheer,bajji.ashwin spin was nothing.still media don't criticise them much and all went after sachin.