Sachin is no stranger to criticism

Published: Wednesday, April 27, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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New Delhi:Ace Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar reacted strongly to criticism that he had become a pale shadow of his former attacking self, saying his aim was to serve the team, not to please everybody.

Tendulkar, the fourth-highest scorer with 10,134 runs in 123 Tests with 34 centuries, has recently been under fire for shedding much of his flamboyance, a hallmark of his batting for long.

Critics grew in numbers especially after his 98-ball 16 in the third and final Test against Pakistan at Bangalore last month, but the 32-year-old champion said his batting style had changed with his role in the team.

"I batted with a certain style when I was 16. At 20, I batted differently. It again changed when I was 25 and again when I turned 30, With age, my role in the team changed too," Tendulkar told The Hindu newspaper on Wednesday.

"It's not that my batting has assumed a new character now. Please try to read my role and contribution in a team where I am the most senior player. Like others, I too think differently as I grow.

"Look, I've played as I wanted to. Not to please some individuals, but to serve my team and my country. It's difficult to please all the people. So why worry about them."

Tendulkar, who has spent an amazing 16 of his 32 years in international cricket, said he was not worried over the lastest criticism as long as he was convinced he had been serving his team.

"It's a process that everyone experiences. In the past too, batsmen have made changes when compelled by certain factors like age," said Tendulkar, one Test hundred short of smashing compatriot Sunil Gavaskar's world mark of 34.

He is also the world's highest run-getter in One-day Internationals with 13,642 runs in 348 matches and a record 38 centuries.

"I can't fight these changes. They are natural. It's easy for these so-called experts to talk from outside," said Tendulkar.

"And who are these people. Look at their records. Honestly, I don't think we need to even discuss them and their comments.

"I know what my job is. As long as I am convinced that I have done my job honestly, why should I lose sleep over what people have to say about my cricket."

Tendulkar, who made his Test debut aged 16 in Pakistan in 1989, said he had now been experiencing different pressure and relishing it.

"The pressures vary with time, and why not," he said.

"The pressure on me is not to score runs but to see that my side needs to perform. My philosophy is simple. If you are concerned about the team's performance, you are bound to attract pressure.

"And I don't mind such pressures at all."

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