Chennai: Sachin Tendulkar had scored 85 centuries in his entire career, but he rates his 103 not out against England in Chennai last December as his best.
"My best century was the one against England in Chennai last year," he said, about his most-satisfying century that came barely a month after the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.
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"After the Mumbai terror attacks, the mood of the entire nation was low. Something was needed to put smiles on people's faces. I am by no means suggesting that the people who lost near and dear ones could forget their terrible loss, but if we as a team were able to make them smile for just a couple of seconds, that was an achievement," the Independent quoted Tendulkar, as saying.
Tendulkar, who caught the attention of former India captain Dilip Vengsarkar when he was just 14 , said that that the tons he scored during those schooldays would always find a special place in his heart.
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"I would say that there were a couple in my schooldays that changed my life. In the semifinal of an under-17s tournament, I scored 326 not out, which is when everyone in Mumbai took notice of me. I then scored 346 not out in the final, with Dilip Vengsarkar and Sunil Gavaskar watching."
"I was only 14 at the time, but Vengsarkar wanted me to join the Mumbai first-class team, which contained nine Test players. He had to be sure I was ready. So he invited me to play in the India nets. The Indian team had a camp in Mumbai, and he made Kapil Dev and all these guys bowl at me in the nets. After that session he gave a green signal to the selectors," he said.
And validating Vengsarkar's faith in him, the young Sachin scored the highest number of runs in his very first domestic season.