Sachin Tendulkar ended a year-long wait for his 100th international century and admitted the constant media speculation about when he would achieve the milestone had been “mentally tough” to deal with.
The Little Master achieved the magical feat with a clipped single to square leg off Shakib Al Hasan in the 44th over of India’s Asia Cup contest against Bangladesh in Mirpur.
Bangladesh’s fielders offered their congratulations to the 38 year old, who lifted his bat and raised his eyes skyward, before celebrating his ton with back-to-back fours en route to a final score of 114.
Tendulkar said the relentless talk about his 100th hundred had been draining, and hoped his achievement would encourage others to “chase their dreams”.
“I was not thinking about the milestone, the media started all this. Wherever I went – the restaurant, room service – everyone was talking about the 100th hundred,” he told television commentator Ramiz Raja in quotes reported by Cricinfo.
“Nobody talked about my 99 hundreds. It became mentally tough for me because nobody talked about my 99 hundreds.
“I started off the season batting reasonably well. I was luckless. I am not playing only for my hundredth hundred. It doesn’t matter how many 100s you score, you still put your head down, grind it out and do the job for the team.”
Asked if he had a message for his fans, Tendulkar added: “Enjoy the game and chase your dreams. Dreams do come true. I had to wait for 22 years for India to win the World Cup.”
N Srinivasan, the president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), described Tendulkar as a “colossus”.
“Ever since he made his international debut in November 1989, Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar has strode cricketing arenas the world over, like a colossus,” Srinivasan told www.bcci.tv.
“He has broken old records and set new benchmarks. He has been an inspiration to billions, and an ornament to the sport. March 16, 2012 will never be forgotten by cricket-lovers.”
Haroon Lorgat, the president of the International Cricket Council, added: “This is indeed a magnificent feat and not likely to be easily emulated.
“He is a marvel to cricket lovers around the world and with an array of batting records, Sachin is a true role model who will undoubtedly hold a special place in cricket’s history.”
Some memorable hundreds from Tendulkar
119 not out, England v India Test, Old Trafford, 1990.
Coming in to bat with India struggling at 109 for four after being set 408 to win, a 17-year-old Sachin Tendulkar defied the English attack on a seamer’s wicket for almost six hours to steer his team to a draw.
114, Australia v India Test, Perth, 1992.
The 19 year old mastered the fast Perth wicket against an all-out pace attack of Craig McDermott, Merv Hughes, Paul Reiffel and Mike Whitney. He drove, cut and pulled on a pitch where the next highest score by a teammate was Kiran More’s 43.
155 not out, India v Australia Test, Chennai, 1998.
India, who trailed by 71 runs in the first innings, rode on Tendulkar’s unbeaten 155 in the second knock to set Australia a target of 348 runs and win the match by 179 runs. Tendulkar hit 14 boundaries and four sixes, smashing Shane Warne, the leg-spinner, out of the attack. Warne later joked that Tendulkar’s aggression gave him nightmares.
103 not out India v England Test, Chennai, 2008.
In one of the most emotional moments in Indian cricket, Tendulkar engineered a remarkable win over England two weeks after his home city of Mumbai was ravaged by the brutal November 26 terrorist attack. Set 387 for victory on the fourth afternoon, India achieved the highest run chase on home soil and the fifth-highest in history.
200 not out, India v South Africa ODI, Gwalior, 2010.
The first double-century in the history of men’s limited-overs international cricket fittingly came from the most prolific batsman in the game. The 36 year old batted from the first over to the last to reach 200 off 147 balls with 25 boundaries and three sixes. India won by 153 runs.