| TENDULKAR: Focussing on win at The Oval
Derby: Come September 5 and all the attention will be on Sachin Tendulkar. The Oval Test, after all, will be his 100th. Yet, Sachin’s own thoughts are on Team India. With the series 1-1, victory there will give India the first (series) win outside the sub-continent in 16 years.
“I’m very happy my 100th Test is only days away but, at the same time, I intend treating that match as just another Test... For me, the attention should be on our trying to come out tops at The Oval,” Sachin told The Telegraph Wednesday.
He added: “Of course, it’s going to be a milestone yet, at the end of the day, I’ll still be playing cricket... Really, I wouldn’t like to put myself under pressure by thinking too much about the 100-Test club...”
[Sachin will be the 26th member, with the other Indians being Kapil Dev (131), Sunil Gavaskar (125) and Dilip Vengsarkar (116). Mohammed Azharuddin got stranded on 99.]
According to Sachin, who has been rested for the three-dayer here, the focus now ought to be on moving forward from the “perfect Test victory” at Headingley. “We got everything right... Our planning was good and the execution even better... It did make for a thrilling win.”
Talking of his own form, which has seen an upswing after Lord’s (16 and 12), Sachin pointed out: “Scoring or not scoring can be compared to being absolutely healthy one day and not so fine the next morning. Indeed, there will be times when, despite the best efforts, you can’t perform at the level you personally want to...”
Asked if he set targets, Sachin replied: “I do... Usually, it’s for a series, at times for a match... It depends... It’s nice to have a goal and work towards it.”
After Lord’s, Sachin’s scores have been 34 and 92 (Trent Bridge) and, then, that outstanding 193 at Headingley. In the NatWest Trophy, which preceded this Test series, Sachin had two hundreds (105 against England and 113 versus Sri Lanka).
Before signing off, one couldn’t resist asking Sachin whether he gets conscious about records. The maestro answered, smiling: “I’m certainly aware, but don’t get conscious. At least, I don’t take guard telling myself I must break this record or that. Doesn’t happen that way in cricket.”
Perhaps, not, but Sachin has himself already authored 30 Test and 33 one-day hundreds.