Tendulkar set for 400th one-dayer

Published: Wednesday, October 10, 2007, 14:23 [IST]
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When Sachin Tendulkar makes his 400th one-day appearance here against Australia, he will realise fan expectations have not changed since his first match in 1989.

Millions of his supporters still want him to showcase the flair and flamboyance which has seen him dominate and demoralise rival attacks during an illustrious 18-year career.

But Tendulkar is ageing and injuries have taken a toll on his body since he made his one-day debut in Pakistan at the age of 16. He may not be as devastating now as he was a decade ago, but still remains a solid bet.

Chief selector Dilip Vengsarkar was quick to warn senior batsmen when they underperformed in the initial matches against Australia, saying they could not take their places for granted.

The 34-year-old Tendulkar refused to react to those comments.

"Performance, not age, should be the criterion. I don't wish to join in any debate, but what I've said is what I believe in," he told the Kolkata-based Telegraph newspaper on Wednesday.

Under-pressure Tendulkar, who had made 0, 16 and 43 in the first three games, responded like a champion with a solid 79 to help India to an eight-run win in the fourth game in Chandigarh on Monday.

He said his approach will remain the same in Thursday's landmark match, which his team must win to level the series 2-2.

"It feels nice. I'm soon also going to complete 18 years of international cricket. It's been a long journey and I have fond memories. I feel honoured that I've been able to play for the country for so many years," he said.

"It will be a special day, but I intend treating it like any other match. It's not that I'm going to get carried away."

Tendulkar, who will become only the second batsman after Sri Lankan Sanath Jayasuriya to figure in 400 one-day internationals, said it was his love for the game that kept him going.

"I have not stopped enjoying it. When you love doing something, you don't have to worry about motivation," he said. "The enjoyment remains."

He said his three standout performances were the last over he bowled in the 1993 Hero Cup semi-finals against South Africa, his 435 runs in five matches at Sharjah in 1998 and a 98 against Pakistan in the 2003 World Cup.

Team-mate Harbhajan Singh said he was fortunate to play with the master.

"It's not easy to play cricket like him. He has played all his cricket so authoritatively. It's absolutely stunning what he has done for the country," Harbhajan told the Indian Express newspaper.

"Playing alongside him, sharing the same dressing-room, is a feeling I really can't explain. His presence in the dressing-room itself is so important for us."

Tendulkar has already set three world records in one-day international cricket -- highest runs (15,563), most hundreds (41) and half-centuries (84). He also has a world-record 37 centuries in Tests.

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