Sachin Tendulkar conceded that he did momentarily harbour hopes of scoring a double hundred before a sore abdomen forced him to give it up on 163. “Towards the end, I was hopeful I could get a double hundred if I stayed on till the 50th over. It was in the vicinity,” said Tendulkar. “When I was on 65 or so, I started feeling stiffness while running between the wickets. But towards the later half of my innings, I got a twitch and it kept getting worse. It was getting to a stage where I couldn’t carry on.”
Tendulkar, who brought up his 43rd ODI ton (to go with 41 in Tests) said he had not set his sights on a half-century of tons in either form of the game. “I am enjoying the game, I don’t have targets. While doing that, if it happens, well and good. The most important factor is to keep enjoying and keep winning games for India.”
Looking back at his innings, Tendulkar said, “In the last match too, I was pleased with certain shots I played, but because of the rain interruption, I lost momentum. We didn’t get too many runs at the start, but the way we timed our charge and built momentum was very satisfying. I would regard this as a very important innings,” he said.
Tendulkar rated the current Indian batting line-up as one of the best he has seen. “We have got five or six guys who can clear the ropes at will. At no stage are we away from our target. At the back of our minds, we know that with such an explosive line-up, no target is impossible.”
Tendulkar, however, admitted that there were points in New Zealand’s chase when they wondered if even 392 was safe. “The way McCullum and Ryder batted initially, they looked very much in control,” he said.
When asked to explain the rationale of taking the batting powerplay as early as in the 23rd over, Tendulkar said, “It was to make their off-spinner bowl towards the end and change their plan. I am sure their fast bowlers were caught off guard. That changed the momentum of the game.”
Tendulkar appreciated the batting-friendly conditions. “Not only players, even spectators are enjoying it. Last time, bowlers got false confidence and batters were looking for technical problems, which didn’t exist. I have not played on tracks like those, they wouldn’t be ideal.”