Sachin Tendulkar was supposed to wake up in the afternoon on Saturday. India had played and lost their Asia Cup match to Bangladesh in a day-night match on Friday and face Pakistan in a do-or-die battle on Sunday. But sticking to his word that he would speak to the posse of Indian media after he got to his milestone, Tendulkar was downstairs right on time. Just a cup of coffee without sugar was surely not enough to help him overcome the mental fatigue after achieving a personal milestone that might never be emulated.
Excerpts from that interaction...
Is this wait compared with (Roger) Federer's wait for French Open?
I don't know obviously what Federer had gone through but I am sure it was tough. I would not compare the 100th 100 with the French Open, rather it would be the World Cup. I had to wait 22 years, and that wait was much longer. It is all about belief, I knew it will come but it is as important that you don't take things for granted and keep working the way you usually do.
There is one thing I can put my hand up and say, that I am 100% sure it is due to my effort and commitment. If these were lacking then there would have been a question mark but in those areas, in my book, I scored a 100 out of 100. Scoring runs and not scoring runs will always be a part of a career, and you can experience that when you have played long enough. I was pretty confident about what I was doing and the technique was right and I had the right people around me and I want to thank them.
Anticipation and pressure...
The anticipation and disappointment on not getting this hundred was way too greater than anything else. I don't know how to explain to you. I wish there was someone to guide me, about how to deal with this. I am not complaining, but it happened for the first time. It has been a tough journey. My family and friends stood right behind me.
Your top five hundreds…
Perth I would say (114 in 1992). Something that means a lot to me is the hundred at Chennai (against England) in 2009. That was really, really important to me because of what had happened before that. Yes, the first 100 (at Manchester 119 not out in 1990), Chennai (136 against Pakistan 1999), and Sydney when I scored 241* (in 2004)
The double ton against Bangladesh?
Possibly the funniest incident of my life, took place in that match. I was batting with Anil (Kumble) and while taking a run and passing him, I told him ‘keep an eye out for the second run’. And, while taking the second I saw that the throw was good and I stopped and Anil ran. But the keeper missed and I returned to my crease but because I was going for the second run, Anil kept running and actually twice we ran in the same direction and three times we were about to get out but we did not, and we had a good laugh.
Rahul Dravid spoke of the role the physios and masseurs play...
Absolutely, without the physio and masseur life would be difficult, really difficult. I'd like to thank all of them who helped me when I was in desperate need. There are a lot of things which happen outside the field, and that helps you prepare for the match. Whatever happens behind the scenes is never discussed, but they are equally a part of my success.
A knock through tremendous pain?
I have played a lot of innings like that. A specific innings that comes to mind is when I got that double century (against South Africa) at Gwalior. I remember before that game I was lying on the physio's table, getting various treatments and my whole body was in trouble.
All we were discussing was that let us win the series, and then I am going to request the BCCI for a break from the third match because I am completely exhausted, I couldn't even stand on the field. I was that exhausted physically and mentally.
To deal with injuries is not easy, and at my age it becomes even more difficult. That was the case even before I played that game. But I went to the ground and forgot all about that. When you are focused, you are willing to find a path and reach a destination of winning that match. Then after the game I was asked ‘do you remember what you had said before the match?’ It happens to everyone and sometimes you go through that more than others.
On his children Arjun and Sara…
It's important they lead a normal childhood and not get surrounded by the media all the time. It’s alright to get that when Arjun is matured enough. But right now, he is madly in love with cricket and with all this attention and pressure it shouldn't be that he starts hating all this.