Children celebrate the 100th century of Sachin Tendulkar on Friday at Azad Maidan, Mumbai. HT photo/Vijayanand Gupta
"I am not god, I am Sachin Tendulkar" - said the iconic Indian cricketer who watched in dejection as his 100th international century, which he described as the "toughest" of his career, was overshadowed by the team's shock loss to Bangladesh in an Asia Cup match in Mirpur.
"I am not God. I am Sachin Tendulkar," said the 38-year-old right-hander after India lost by five wickets despite posting 289 on board.
"Yes, I have to be honest. I am human and I have emotions so I was frustrated. It does play on your mind," Tendulkar told reporters at the post-match press conference.
It took him 36 balls to go from 80 to 100 on Friday night and his 114-run knock came off 147 deliveries in all but the veteran insisted that personal milestone was the last thing on his mind.
"The hundred was not the only thing on my mind. I was thinking about getting a good total for the team. When I looked at the scoreboard, I was looking at the run-rate and what we needed to do; I was avoiding looking at my personal score," he said.
Tendulkar, who endured a year-long wait to reach the 100th century, said the delay made him realise the value of a century and admitted that his patience was tested.
"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," he said.
"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," Tendulkar added.
He has almost every international record under his belt but Tendulkar insisted that he does not play for milestones.
"I've never played cricket for milestones. While playing, I have ended up breaking a few records, but that was never my goal. I play cricket just because I enjoy the game. The 100th hundred was the most difficult."
On what his future plans were after reaching the 100th hundred, Tendulkar said, "When I consider retirement, don't worry, I will not hide it from anyone. I will play as long as I am enjoying it and as long as I can contribute to the team.
"I don't play for milestones; that is a perception created by a few members of the media. I play cricket because I enjoy it."
Reflecting on the innings, Tendulkar said his focus was on the team's run rate.
"I was not looking at the scoreboard. I just took it one ball at a time and looked to do it for the team. Even after completing my century, my job was not done."First batsman to score 100th ton | A-Z of Tendulkar | HT special: 100 faces of Sachin