Batting maestro has no retirement plans

Published: Sunday, April 6, 2008, 3:35 [IST]
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New Delhi: Forced to sit out from the home series against South Africa due to groin injury, Sachin Tendulkar has hinted that he will now weigh his career options, without seting a timeline for retirement.

''I am enjoying my cricket at the moment, but don't want to think too much into the future,'' Tendulkar told IBN Lokmat.

''I have been playing almost non-stop for 20 years and want to focus only on the present.'' ''I don't want to think too much about the past or the future,'' he added. ''I prefer to take it series by series.'' The master blaster feels sad that winning the World Cup was an ''unfulfilled dream'', saying that he would like to play in the 2011 event.

''Winning the World Cup is centainly still an unfulfilled dream and I would love to play in it,'' he said. ''But 2011 is still some way away, and I don't want to look that far and commit myself to anything.''

Talking about his plans after retirement, he said he will like to remain in touch with the game.

''I would like to spend time with my family, but will in some way be connected with cricket and I would love to be always associated with the game,'' Tendulkar stated.

When pressed further, the 34-year-old said he would consider getting involved in charitable activities.

''I am associated with a number of charities, only I prefer not to talk about it,'' he said. ''I prefer to stay involved in some way with the work.''

Giving the thumbs-up to the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL), Tendulkar said Twenty20 cricket was neccessary to popularise the game.

''There have been many changes in the game in the last 18-20 years,'' Tendulkar said. ''Twenty20 cricket is making the game like baseball and football, crowds know the game will be over in three hours. This will help globalise cricket.

''The one complaint I get from foreigners is that not just five days, even the one-day game is too long. They would prefer a game that doesn't go beyond three hours.''

He dismissed suggestions that auctioning of players would destroy the soul of the game.

''No, I dont think so at all. I never played the game thinking about the money I will make from it, and neither do the youngsters today,'' Sachin said. ''This game has given me sleepless nights just thinking about how i will play the next day. That excitement can never be measured in terms of money.

''Right from the start, all I wanted was to play well and score as many runs as possible. That has been my motivation, not money,'' Talking about the infamous Harbhajan Singh controversy in Australia, he said, ''I defended Harbhajan because he had never said what he was accused of and I felt if we players don't defend him this time, then when will we stand by him?''

''It not just important for us cricketers, but for all Indians staying abroad, not just in Australia,'' he added.''I just felt Harbhajan was a teammate who should be defended and I should take the lead.''

Asked about on-field sledging, Tendulkar said there are certain limits which players should keep in mind.

''There are limits which no cricketer should cross,'' he remarked. ''Somethings will happen on the field, everyone wants to win, and we should be prepared for it, as long as it is within limits.''

He also criticised the media for unfairly creating an impression of a senior-junior rift in the Indian team.

''These reports of a senior-junior rift are totally false. In the team, seniors and juniors respect each other, and we all realise the importance of playing for the country,'' he said.

''The media is damaging its credibility by giving stories without authentic information.''


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