Mirpur: A phenomenal century of hundreds under his belt but iconic Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar is in no mood to consider retirement as he feels going out on top is a "selfish thought".
Tendulkar struck his 100th international century in an Asia Cup match against Bangladesh on Friday, ending a year-long wait to get to the milestone which might remain unsurpassed.
But the 38-year-old is not even thinking about bidding adieu to his over two-decade long career just yet.
"My belief is that if I feel I can contribute, I am mentally there where I feel I am bringing value to the team then I should be playing. It's a very selfish thought that when you are at the top you should retire," Tendulkar told a news channel.
"When you are at the top, you should serve the nation.
"When I feel I am not in a frame of mind to contribute to nation, that's when I should retire not when somebody says.
"That's a selfish statement that one should retire on top," he explained.
The diminutive right-hander, who sits on a pile of records and runs, said it was tough to deal with the hype around the 100th ton and the fact that the wait lingered on made it harder.
"(There is) more of a relief because my 99th hundred was against South Africa (during the World Cup) and after that media didn't speak about my 100th hundred while the World Cup was on," he recalled.
"I missed the West Indies tour and somehow there is speculation that I wanted to score the 100 in England at Lord's but a hundred doesn't come as and when you want", he said.
"For the last one year, there were patches I was batting reasonably ok and some failures also but the whole package put together, it was possibly the toughest of my life. Last one year has been really tough," Tendulkar said.
Responding to the criticism against him that he was playing only for the milestone, Tendulkar said, "There are certain people I respect and there are certain people I don't respect. So I don't get affected by ones I don't respect, they have there opinions, it doesn't matter much they remain where they are."
"I don't bother much about them. Let them be where they are. I have got a bigger job of playing for India, score runs and win matches for India and I focus on that job instead of reacting to what they are saying," he retorted.
Asked whether the 100th ton was playing on his mind before it was hyped by the media, Tendulkar said he wasn't thinking about the stat.
"Earlier the 100th 100 wasn't on my mind at all, I was so focussed on the World Cup. My biggest dream was to lift the World Cup and there could be no greater satisfaction for a player than to bring the World Cup home. That was the most important moment of my life.
"I don't think anything gets bigger than that. Personal milestones are created along that path where you have got a bigger goal and the bigger goal was to play for nation," he asserted.
Tendulkar said he was glad that the hoopla around the hundred has finally ended.
"I am feeling like plenty of weight has been taken off my shoulders. I said that I have lost 50 kg yesterday but looking back it feels a little more than that. I am glad that it's all done with now.
"There are moments when you question yourself, why is this happening because I was batting well. There was no specific reason to get out. It just happened. Sometimes you just have to accept what the almighty's plan is for you. I want to assure you that I won't stop trying my best," he said.