Playing at Lord's is extremely special: Sachin

Published: Wednesday, July 18, 2007, 23:53 [IST]
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London:For all of his mind-boggling achievements and milestones he appropriated in the last 18 years, Sachin Tendulkar has admitted his ''dream'' of adding a century at the 'extremely special' Lords remains unfulfilled.

Even as he tours England for one last time as a player, Tendulkar refuses to let the missing link (century) boggle him down before he takes strike for the first Test starting at Lords tomorrow.

''I don't want to put any pressure on myself at not being able to achieve that,'' he insisted.

''This (Lords) is a ground where all the batters dream of getting a hundred and I'm no different. It's an extremely special ground for me,'' he admitted.

Although its not quite the century he would be proud of, he adds ''I've not been able to do it in Test cricket but I played in a game against the MCC and I managed to get a hundred then.'' His affection for the Mecca of cricket stems from his memories as a child of watching India complete one of the major World Cup shocks by beating West Indies in the 1983 final on television.

''The first time I ever saw Lord's on television was when India were in the 1983 World Cup final.

''I was only 10 and didn't really know what was happening, but I joined in all the celebrations even though I was too young to understand it. It's extremely special to be out in the middle at Lord's and one would want to make the most of it.''

Recalling his days as teenager, he was quoted as saying by PA Sports ''I also remember visiting here as a 14-year-old kid when we were travelling around with the Star cricket team and I had a photo of myself taken as I sat next to the sight screen at the Nursery End - as a kid you have big dreams and one of them was to be out there and play.'' Now at 34, he is regarded as the finest player of his generation, scoring more Test (37) and One-day (41) hundreds than anyone in history.

But for all his stunning achievements, the lack of a Lord's landmark is a glaring omission on the curriculum vitae, a feat his Team India mate Sourav Ganguly can boast of, Tendulkar is yet to earn the right to have his name on the dressing room Honour's Board at Lord's, which is reserved for players who have scored a Test century or taken five wickets at the venue.

The Master Blaster, however tries to play it down before what is his final Test at Lords, saying ''I've never set targets as such. Vaguely I would know in the back of my mind what I wanted to do on this tour, but I wouldn't let that dominate the rest of things. ''You have to keep your mind as free as possible so you can watch the ball as clearly as possible. I do have targets because it's important when you are sitting back in your room that you know what you want to contribute.'' His highest score in five Test innings at Lord's is 31 although he did score 125 in the Lady Diana Memorial one-day match for the Rest of the World against MCC in 1998.

Should he achieve the feat during the next five days, it would surely rank alongside one of Tendulkar's treasured memories.

A philosophical Tendulkar says ''God knows what's in store for me, but the previous tour to England was 2002 and now it is 2007 so it might be that 2011 or 2012 could be the next time we're here and that would take a special effort.'' Reiterating his tight-lipped nature about targets, he said ''I've never disclosed my targets as such. Certain things I keep to myself which nobody knows about, not even my family.

It motivates me and pushes me to go out and do my best for the team.

''It looks like this is going to be my last England tour but that doesn't make things different. When I came here in 2002 I didn't know what was in store for me and I don't now - you can't take tomorrow for granted and I just want to make sure I enjoy every moment and not think about the future.

''I'm enjoying playing and that is the reason why I walk on the cricket field,'' he concludes.


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