| Sunil Gavaskar congratulates Sachin Tendulkar in Dhaka on Saturday. (AFP)
Calcutta, Dec. 11: Given the records he scripted, Sunil Gavaskar had to remember many dates. With time he forgot some, but not October 29 ' when, 21 years ago, he equalled Sir Don Bradman's then record of 29 Test centuries.
Six weeks back, on October 29, Gavaskar (in Nagpur as the Team India consultant) had a hunch Sachin Tendulkar would equal his record of 34 three-figure knocks.
'India needed a big innings from the biggest player and, that morning, I felt it could be Sachin's day' That October 29 would again be significant' Sadly, Sachin fell for two and India lost big (to Australia),' Gavaskar reminisced during a recent one-on-one.
In Dhaka today, Sachin did get to his 34th century and Gavaskar was quick to salute him as being more precious than the Kohinoor. Less emotionally, he urged the present generation's Little Master to post a half-century of Test centuries.
Incidentally, Gavaskar's reign at the top began 21 years ago.
Sachin, however, isn't aiming for anything more than 'the maximum runs' on the third day of the opening Test against a hapless Bangladesh.
He is unbeaten on 159.
'I don't set targets' Never look too far ahead' I respect Gavaskar's sentiments, but I'm not one to declare I've simply got to get 50 centuries,' Sachin told The Telegraph, minutes after returning to the team hotel.
Asked whether he was relieved, Sachin answered after the briefest pause: 'You may say so' Constantly being reminded about getting to this century had actually become a bit too much' Had gone on for too long' Now, I can take a fresh guard and'
In keeping with his post-1999 World Cup response to achievements, Sachin looked heavenwards and remembered his father, Ramesh.
'I thought of him' I thought of the rest of my family, specially (wife) Anjali' I thought of the sacrifices',' Sachin revealed, overwhelmed at reliving the moments immediately after a single off Tapash Baisya became historic.
Sachin, of course, has become the third batsman (after Gary Kirsten and Steve Waugh) to score a century off each of the nine remaining Test-playing nations.
'I'm happy' Very happy, notwithstanding that this three-figure innings came versus Bangladesh' I suppose destiny played a role as the tennis elbow made me miss the first two Tests of the season' Moreover, it's not for me to pick and choose and fix the calendar' I'm going to accept whatever comes,' Sachin said.
Unbelievably, he got three lives and may only remember this century for its significance. Nothing more.
As with Anil Kumble yesterday, nobody from the family was present at the Bangabandhu stadium. According to Sachin, that's because Sara and Arjun have classes to attend.
'When I myself ask young ones not to neglect studies, how can my own children skip school' he asked, not exactly expecting an answer.
Sachin took that for granted, much like we take the 31-year-old's greatness.