Ex-players hope & pray for Sachin

Published: Tuesday, September 3, 2002, 0:12 [IST]
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Mumbai: Former cricket stars and administrators are 'hoping and praying' that batting Maestro Sachin Tendulkar, who made his debut in international cricket at the age of 16, scores a century in his 100th Test match, --the fourth and final Test against England, commencing at the Oval from September five. Sachin's childhood friend and cricketer Vinod Kambli prayed at the Siddhivinayak temple for his buddy, before leaving for Cape Town last Friday to represent Boland Club. "I am going to miss watching Sachin playing his 100th Test match.

I have never missed any of his 30 centuries in person or on TV. I sincerely hope he accomplishes the feat," Kambli said. "Our passion for the game is common. Sachin is still playing and the game reveals his passion. In my case, I am still hoping to play for the country," he added. Sachin's elder brother, Ajit Tendulkar, who was instrumental in shaping the Maestro's career, said, "Obviously we are delighted and proud of his achievements. He has done reasonably well for the country and we are thankful for that." "I hope he carries on in the same fashion in future as well and give enjoyment to millions of his fans around the world," he added.

Chairman of the selection committee and former Test all-rounder, Chandu Borde said from Pune on Monday that it would be a "fantastic feat by the little master" if he achieves the distinction. "There is no doubt about the ability of the genius and I hope he gets a well deserved century on his 100th Test match. Every innings you watch him play, he gives an impression that batting in middle is a child's play," Borde said.

"I admire the way he concentrates and the last two innings in England where he got a 90 plus and 193 shows that he is in very good nick and I am sure we can expect a three figure score in the next Test," he said. "At the age of 29 he has proved he will not only break records but create many for others to try and break them. I feel if he continues to be in the same form he will end up with 25,000 Test runs before he retires," Borde added.

Former Indian captain G S Ramchand said, "It will be a tremendous achievement because many Test players cannot even think of playing in 100 Tests in their life time but this gentleman is all set play his 100th Test at the age of 29. "I sincerely hope that he gets a big hundred and helps India wrap-up the series. He still has six to seven years in Test cricket and I hope he gets many more tons," he said. Ramchand said he would have been happy if Tendulkar had played his 100th Test at the Wankhede Stadium and not away from home.

"However, that should not dampen the spirit of his fans as 100 Tests anywhere is a big milestone and I am sure every body will be expecting some thing special from the little master," Ramchand added. The joint secretary of the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA), Ratnakar Shetty, who has been following Sachin's progress since he was a schoolboy, said, "It is a great moment for all of us as Sachin becomes the third and the youngest player from Mumbai to play in 100 Tests, the other two being Sunil Gavaskar and Dilip Vengsarkar." "He has lived up to his reputation. I only hope he continues for many more years, as he is just 29, and bring joy and pleasure for millions of his fans for years to come," Shetty said.

"In the last two innings he has shown his critics that he would rather have his bat talk and I would not be surprised if he comes up with a 'special' hundred in his hundredth Test match," he stated. "What is sad is that he is playing his 100th Test abroad as I would have been happy if he had played his 100th Test at the Wankhede Stadium like Dilip Vengsarkar did. However, we are planning a big celebration for him for his 101st Test match against the touring West Indies side," Shetty added.

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