Overseas series win: Sachin aims for centenary success

Published: Tuesday, September 3, 2002, 23:58 [IST]
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London: Sachin Tendulkar said on Tuesday that he hoped India could mark his 100th Test by clinching a series victory over England. Tendulkar, speaking here at The Oval, where India face Nasser Hussain's side in the decisive final Test with the series level at one apiece, will become the youngest player in cricket history to reach the landmark when the match starts on Thursday. India has not won a Test series outside of the sub-continent in 16 years and Tendulkar, 29, said, "It is so important because that's what we've been trying to do for so many years. "Now the time has come when we stand a chance, a fair chance. But we don't want to put ourselves under pressure, we just want to go out and play. "Earlier we haven't won outside of India for quite some time and we've been doing that regularly now so this is another hurdle." Tendulkar, whose 193 at Headingley helped India win the third Test and square the series, has accumulated numerous statistical achievements since making his Test debut against Pakistan as a 16-year-old. But he said this latest landmark had particular significance. "Reaching a hundred Test matches is always going to be special for anyone because not many players have done that. I'm only the fourth Indian (after Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev and Dilip Vengsarkar). It is a proud moment for me. "Having played for 13 years I have learnt a lot and there are more things to be learnt. Each and every moment I've enjoyed and cherished. This was one of my dreams, to play a hundred Test matches for India. "That's when a player feels you've achieved something in life and you've contributed to the best of your ability." But he admitted the huge fame he enjoyed in India had its price. "It is not going to be a normal life because cricket is so popular back home. "I can't go out with my family but there are plusses as well as minuses." He said the Test innings that had given him the most pleasure was a hundred he made against Australia at Perth in 1992. "They had a very good attack," explained Tendulkar who added that India's come-from- behind series victory over Steve Waugh's side at home during 2000-01 has been his most memorable campaign. "They had won 15 matches in-a-row so to come back and win the series after losing the first match by 10 wickets was something special." Tendulkar added that he had no idea when he started how many Tests he would play but said the advice he had received from his coach and brother had been invaluable. "I just wanted to go out and enjoy every moment, face every challenge, that's what my coach and elder brother taught me. They also told me there were no short cuts in the game and that if you looked for short cuts that would be the end of your career." And Tendulkar admitted he was a worried teenager when he made his debut. "I was in terrible shape, I was only 16. We were playing Pakistan, my feet were not moving only my hands. "I thought I was a bit out of my depth but things got better from the next Test." They certainly did. Tendulkar has now scored 8,351 runs to lie seventh in the list of all-time Test run scorers. At Headingley he surpassed his hero and Australia great Don Bradman's mark of 29 Test hundreds. Now only another of his idols, Gavaskar, with 34 Test centuries, stands ahead of him in the list of leading centurions. But he said comparisons were unfair. "Your heroes will always be your heroes whatever happens. When you make comparisons you can end up degrading the other guy. "I just wanted to be regarded as one of the best players in the world. It is up to the spectators and cricket followers to decide who ranks where." Sachin Tendulkar's Test record: (matches-innings-not outs-runs-highest score-average- hundreds) 99-159-15-8351-217-57.99-30

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