Sachin still dreams of century at Lord's
Sachin Tendulkar might be the highest century-maker in Test cricket, but he still craves for that elusive one at the Mecca of cricket- Lord's.
Tendulkar, with 37 centuries to his name, said he would not put himself under any pressure by thinking too much on scoring a ton when India take on England at Lord's on Thursday.
"This is the ground all the players dream of getting a hundred. I am no different. I would want to get one. May be three hundreds in all the Tests here will be good," Tendulkar told reporters in London on Tuesday.
"I don't want to put any pressure on myself on that because of not being able to do that. In Test cricket I have not been able to do that, but in the game between MCC XI and Rest of the World I had managed to get one."
Tendulkar said the love for the game has kept him going and he would hang up his boots once he felt that he is not enjoying the game anymore.
"I am absolutely enjoying it. That is the reason for me to walk on the cricket field and the rest of the things follow. Most important thing is my love for the game. When I feel that I am no more enjoying the game, there is no reason for me to be out in the middle. But at this moment, I am enjoying it and that is what takes me out in the field," he told reporters in London on Thursday.
Tendulkar said normally he did not set targets because he wants to play with a free mind.
"I don't set targets as such and I know vaguely what has to be done in a series, but I would not let that dominate rest of the things. You want to keep your mind as free as possible and that is what is needed to be done."
"Setting target is important as sitting back at home or a hotel room you know what to contribute to the team, that is my target contribute to the team to the best of my abilities."
"In fact, I never disclose my targets as such. Certain things I keep to myself and not even my family knows about it. Those things motivate me to go out and do well on the field," he said.
Asked whether it would be his last tour of England, Tendulkar said, "God knows what is in store but the previous tour was in 2002 and the next one may be in 2011/12 may be."
"We can't take tomorrow for granted. Right now what I want to do is to keep my concentration on this series that is important and I don't want to divide my energy into various directions."
He, however, savoured his memories associated with Lord's.
"It is extremely special to play here. The first time I saw Lord's on TV was when India won here in 1983 World Cup. I was only 10 then, did not know what was happening but I joined the celebration. I was too young to follow what was happening. So there are a lot of fond memories and one would definitely want to make the most of the outing here."
Tendulkar went down the memory lane when he first played his first Test at Lord's as a teenager in 1990. "Gooch, Azhar and Robin Smith got brilliant hundreds. I have got one good catch and that is about in that match."
"I remember visiting this ground as a 14-year old with the Star cricket team and sat here next to the sight screen and took a photo. As a kid you have big dreams and one of them was playing at Lord's."
Asked about his first Test hundred, Tendulkar said, "First Test hundred is always special and it came at a critical moment and kept us alive in the series."
"Everybody wants to get better by the time or at least think better. When you play at 17-18 years, you learn a lot of things and you experience a lot of things, those things help you when you go out there. The opposition gives some particular signals and your experience helps you handle it."
Asked about Chandu Borde travelling with the team, he said, "Chandu Borde was my manager when I was first picked up to play against Pakistan. He is a wonderful person and has seen a lot of cricket. His presence has helped us a lot. Tendulkar said the seniors are always there to take up the responsibility."
"Eventually what matters is what you are doing on the field. Off the field you may have a lot of things, but on the field we seniors have always taken the responsibility. It really does not matter who the captain is, what matter is that seniors and juniors get together and put up a good show."