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Of tons of smiles & cheers

Sachin Tendulkar still smiles like a kid when he makes runs. And given that his latest output has allowed India a closer glimpse at that rare Test win in New Zealand, he had every reason to be in good humour. Anand Vasu reports.

cricket Updated: Jan 15, 2013 12:07 IST
Anand Vasu

Sachin Tendulkar still smiles like a kid when he makes runs. And given that his latest output has allowed India a closer glimpse at that rare Test win in New Zealand, he had every reason to be in good humour.

“We are in a strong position now and that is what matters,” he began. “When I came in to bat yesterday, initially it was difficult, they bowled good lines and in good areas. You've got to respect and play out the good spells. Once the new ball was taken, I started timing it much better. I was quite happy with the way I moved and found the centre more often than not.

“Every hundred is not going to be fluent; there are days when you have to work harder. I was prepared to wait for my chance and eventually, when I found the centre of the bat consistently, I was playing a different game altogether.”

Tendulkar denied that the early assault on New Zealand's bowlers was planned. “When I saw the ball was there to be put away, that is what I did. The only plan was to watch the ball as closely as possible,” he said.

When asked what he made of the standing ovations he receives around the world, notably in Australia last year and now in New Zealand, Tendulkar said, “Maybe they all think it's my last tour. I don't know. I'm enjoying myself, it's nice.” Tendulkar's 160 was his 24th century abroad, to go with 18 on home soil. “A hundred is a hundred,” he said. “One is supposed to know home conditions better than foreign conditions. But eventually, after being around for a while, I know exactly when to pace my innings and back off a bit.”

Tendulkar then became the latest in a long line of Indian players to refer to the atmosphere in the dressing room as “terrific” and added, “Gary (Kirsten) is doing a great job, along with other members of the support staff including Venkatesh Prasad, Robin Singh and Paddy (Upton). Gary has been instrumental in keeping the dressing room atmosphere lively. We've had some tough sessions but he's not lost his cool, not lost his faith in his players. That's a special quality. We are all extremely happy that Gary is around.”