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'I converted stones thrown at me into milestones'

Taking a dig at critics clamouring for his retirement, Sachin Tendulkar today said he converted stones thrown at him into milestones. See Graphics

cricket Updated: Oct 18, 2008 11:54 IST
Atreyo Mukhopadhyay

Rarely does a batsman raise his bat and acknowledge cheers from the crowd on three different occasions on his way to scoring 61. The sight of play being held up because of firecrackers going off isn’t something that happens every day

Sachin stats

150
The first Indian to
play these many Tests
247
Number of innings
he took in 152 Tests at
an average of 54.03 to get here
11,000
Was the first
Indian to surpass this
landmark in Tests.
10,000
Shares the record
with Brian Lara for being
the fastest to reach this
milestone in Tests.
Both of them did it in 195 innings
5751
Number of runs he
has scored in Tests
away from home, the most
by any batsman in Tests
39
Number of Test
centuries he has
scored, most by any batsman
5
Number of tons he
scored as a teenager
— a world record
50
Number of half-centuries
he scored in Tests,
the second most by an Indian

either.

But there was little room for reason at the PCA Stadium on Friday when Sachin Tendulkar displaced Brian Lara as the man with most Test runs. He looked heavenwards after gliding the first ball after tea towards third-man. He was on 17 and Test cricket had a new highest run scorer. Even Tendulkar was taken aback by the ‘duration of the firecrackers’.

Then he gave the sparse crowd two more opportunities to salute him — after reaching 50 and after reaching 61, which made him the first man to reach 12,000 Test runs.

After falling 12 short of a century, he said the new ball had done him in. “It takes a fraction of a second to adjust to the swing of the new ball. I paid a huge price for failing to make it.”

Tendulkar said it wasn’t important for him to explore what lies ahead. “When I started as a 16-year-old, I had no targets. I was out to enjoy every moment. I would like to continue in the same way without thinking about too many things.”

People asked him about the eventuality of Ricky Ponting breaking his records and this brought out the philosopher in Tendulkar. “I know that every record is meant to be broken. There might be another 16-year-old somewhere, starting out without any targets. Who knows what he can do?”

Tendulkar said more than being happy himself, he was relieved to end the anxiety of others. “I wasn’t under any pressure because I knew it will happen as long as I continue to play. But others would just not say anything else and keep reminding me of the record… To be honest, I didn’t sleep well last night because of that.”

Without specifying how many days, he made clear that he wanted to carry on. “When I started nobody told me just how far could I go. So nobody should tell me now how long I should play for. As long as I enjoy it, I will continue to play.”

In cricket, or in life for that matter, things can change dramatically. But after Friday, few would contest the last bit of what Tendulkar said.