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'Sachin can score century of centuries'

Sachin is the "closest thing to batting perfection" with the ability to succeed in all conditions, says Sunil Gavaskar.

india Updated: Dec 12, 2005 11:49 IST

India's Sachin Tendulkar will not rest on his world-record 35th Test century but will go on to become the first batsman to score 100 international hundreds, according to Sunil Gavaskar.

Tendulkar made history on Saturday when he smashed compatriot Gavaskar's world mark of 34 Test hundreds on the opening day of the second Test against Sri Lanka at the Ferozeshah Kotla ground here.

Indian President Abdul Kamal led the nation in greeting Tendulkar, saying in a message he wished the batsman "success and strength" to achieve many more such feats."

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also sent congratulations.

"The nation hopes you will continue to delight us with your sporting talents in the years ahead. We look forward to witnessing many more records being written in your name in your sporting career," Singh said.

Gavaskar, in his column on Sunday, said he was sure Tendulkar would go on to score many more centuries.

"He is only 32 and should be able to play for another six years at least, if not eight. He could well finish with 50 centuries in Tests and be the first to score 100 international centuries."

Tendulkar has already amassed 73 hundreds in international cricket -- 35 in Tests and 38 in one-dayers. He is also the leading run-getter in the shorter version of the game with 13,909 in 358 matches.

"Make no mistake, he is not going to stop at 35 (Test hundreds), but will score many more and give pleasure to cricket lovers all over the world," said Gavaskar, a legendary former opener who quit Test cricket in 1987.

"When a record is taken away from you, there is a tinge of sadness but when it is broken by a talent as prodigious as Sachin -- and a fellow Indian -- that sadness is forgotten in a trice and one rejoices at a new benchmark being set."

Gavaskar said Tendulkar was the "closest thing to batting perfection" with the ability to succeed in all conditions.

Former Pakistani batting great Hanif Mohammad said height had been the key to Tendulkar's success.

"While there may be many theories on why he has done well, I think it is all because of his height," Mohammad said.

"Batsmen of shorter height always have an advantage over those who are tall. That's why guys like Gavaskar, Brian Lara, Sachin and me are able to score a lot of runs.

"Our height, about five feet three or five, helps us play fast bowlers very well. Because of our height we are able to play the short ball very easily, since the bouncers sometimes go above our heads and really do not test us."

Mohammad was the first Pakistani to score a Test triple-century, against the West Indies in 1957-58. He retired from Test cricket in 1969 with 3,915 runs in 55 matches averaging 43.98.

"Right now along with Lara, Inzamam-ul-Haq and Ricky Ponting, Sachin is one of the top four batsmen in the game today," said Mohammad.

"But I would not club any of them with the great Don (Bradman) so soon, since he was way ahead of all of them."

Bradman scored 6,996 runs in 52 Tests averaging an astonishing 99.94, the best so far in the history of the game.

First Published: Dec 11, 2005 17:56 IST