Mirpur: Sachin Tendulkar admitted that his 100th international ton against Bangladesh on Friday was the toughest to get in his career of over two decades.
Tendulkar’s last international ton came against South Africa during the World Cup last year in March and since then he has travelled to England and Australia and also played one home series against the West Indies, but the sought-after ton never came. Naturally, he was relieved to get the albatross off his back.
“The 100th hundred was the toughest to get. I never took anything for granted. Luck was not on my side. I was frustrated and yes, it does play on your mind. When I reached my hundred, I thanked God,” he told reporters after the match.
“I feel in the last three years I have batted well, but that 100 was not happening. I am glad that it is now out of my way.
"After scoring 99 tons you are made to realise the value of a hundred. It's not easy, it was a testing period, but there were many people who helped me.
"There are opinions, some for some against. I don't read them, I have a job to do. Ups and downs are a part of life, there is no person who has not experienced it, and they teach you a lot in life.
"I am glad about the journey. It has tested my patience, my character. So many people have had questions, I don't read any of them. Somebody who has not gone through this will have only questions, not answers.
"I felt even after 22 years, the cricket god was testing me over the last one year. I will be honest, I was frustrated at times, but I never gave up."
He also thanked his fans for standing by him in his hour of need.
“I am not God. I am Sachin. I would like to thank my well-wishers today. I don’t play for milestones. I enjoy playing cricket.”
Discussing his innings of 114 off 147 balls at the Shere Bangla National Stadium, the 38-year-old said, “I was not looking at my personal score. I was keeping a track of the run rate.”
“You can't plan and score a hundred. Every batsman wants to score a hundred when he goes out to play, but that doesn’t happen every time. I don’t like to look at statistics.”
The Master Blaster’s historic innings though, went in vain as the Tigers chased down 290 to stun the world champions in the Asia Cup. Sachin believes India’s total of 289 for five was a decent total on that track.
“The total was decent. You have to give credit to the opposition. They (Bangladesh) approached the game well. Our bowlers also bowled well,” he said.
India now play Pakistan on Sunday in the mother of all clashes. Tendulkar understands the importance of the match, which India need to win to ensure they make it to the Asia Cup final.
“Playing against Pakistan is always challenging. The next match is very important for us,” he said.
Meanwhile, Tendulkar, who has been at the centre of retirement rumours of late, quashed such claims in a forthright manner.
“I will let you know when I decide to retire. I won’t keep it a secret. I will continue to play till I am enjoying my game.”