Thatscricket - ODI Series - India~~s tour of Pakistan- Tendulkar relishing return to Pakistan

Published: Monday, March 29, 2004, 18:30 [IST]
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Rawalpindi:He started his international cricket career in Pakistan as a bubbling 16-year-old prodigy facing up to great fast bowlers like Imran Khan and Wasim Akram.

Nearly 15 years down the line, Sachin Tendulkar returns to the country to establish another important milestone that few batsmen in contemporary cricket can hope to achieve -- scoring a whopping 13,000 runs in One-day cricket.

His nearest rival in the batting honours list - Pakistan skipper Inzamam-ul-Haq, who watched the genius unfold his mastery last night, is 3393 runs behind at 9,607 from 309 outings.

The batting maestro also created history by becoming the first Indian to score a One-day century on Pakistani soil, crafting a classic 141 off 135 balls in the second One-day International, which India lost narrowly by 12 runs.

This was his 37th One-day International century in his 330th match but like a true team man, he declared that centuries have more value if the team wins. "I have always said that a century has greater value when the team wins. Scoring a hundred is nice. But it is a greater feeling when the team ends up winning."

Although he keeps the statisticians and fans busy, he does not himself keep track of the records he keeps shattering every other day and believes in doing his job quietly.

On returning to Pakistan and achieving the milestones, he said, "to let you know what has happened all the way is a bit difficult. I am happy to be here and to become the first Indian to score a hundred in One-day International cricket in Pakistan. I didn't know about my 13,000 runs, so thank you so much for letting me know."

Adored in Pakistan, as he is the world over, Tendulkar said he felt "good being in Pakistan. The hospitality is great and I am enjoying it."

Tendulkar may not have scored too many runs on his first trip to Pakistan in 1989, but now holds most of the batting records, having an aggregate of 13,090 runs in 330 matches with an impressive average of 45.13. Besides the 37 centuries, he also has 66 half-centuries to his credit.

His record in the longer version is equally phenomenal having compiled 9265 runs, which includes 32 centuries, at an average of 57.19. For a batsman who makes news even when he does not score enough runs, Tendulkar has always believed in playing his game and using his bat to silence his critics.

On the suggestion that he is not a great finisher, Tendulkar said, "Well, you've got to go back and have a look at the scorebook." He admitted that batting second on the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium track under floodlights last night was difficult, as the ball was not coming on easily to the bat.

"I thought it was a difficult track to bat on. The ball was stopping and coming. So, we had to take our time before playing big shots. We had to be a little more selective.

"I think they bowled pretty well. They did not give us enough time in the air to decide what to do. They pushed the ball through quicker and made our lives a bit more difficult," he said.

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