The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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This is my No. 1 achievement in one-day cricket: Sachin

Glasgow: In recent months, Sachin Tendulkar has gone through some really awkward moments. From being compelled to bat down the order by the then-coach, Greg Chappell, to being asked to show cause and, then, being rested for the ODIs in Bangladesh... The past six weeks, though, have been quite different. On Friday, of course, the 34-year-old became the first to scale the 15,000 runsí peak in ODIs.

Itís an achievement which has delighted Sachin. That came through when he spoke to The Telegraph (from the team hotel in Belfast) on Saturday afternoon.

The following are excerpts

On the morning after

Feels great... Itís doubly nice that we won the match and have given ourselves a chance to win the series (on Sunday) against South Africa...

On whether heíd been aware he needed just 50 to reach 15,000

I knew I was close, but I wasnít counting the runs... I realised Iíd got there when the public announcement was made... Out in the middle, one forgets about milestones and records... The priority is to do the job.

On rating his latest feat vis-à-vis the earlier ones

This is different... Itís not about having done well in a series... Not about having had a couple of good knocks in succession... This has taken almost 18 years and, along the way, Iíve had injuries... Ups and downs... I accept it hasnít been a smooth highway, but Iíve been on the road for a long time... Itís not about numbers alone, but more than any one hundred or some truly special innings, I suppose this is my No.1 achievement in one-day cricket.

On the celebrations

Champagne was arranged and I was made to cut a cake... Everything happened in the dressing room... Generally, the atmosphere in this dressing room is terrific... Our cricket manager, Mr (Chandu) Borde had kind words to say... Youíll recall heíd been the manager on my first tour, to Pakistan in 1989...

On the ones he remembered first on getting to the milestone

My parents... I dedicate this achievement to my father (the late Ramesh) and mother (Rajni)... Iím sure my father wouldíve been very proud had he been alive.

On whether heís more comfortable now that heís back to opening

Iíve mostly played as an opener in ODIs... My most significant contributions, I think, have come at the very top of the order... I like opening, yes, but Iím going to respect the teamís requirements. Thatís important.

On who authored this Ďpromotioní

(Laughs) Thatís an internal matter and it wouldnít be proper to talk about it. In any case, I donít think it matters (to the public).

On whether he has proved a point by bagging the MoS award during the Tests in Bangladesh and by scoring big on his one-day comeback

Look, Iíve never been the type to prove a point... Iíve never been one to try and retaliate in one form or the other... I enjoy batting and I try for the maximum... Obviously, I realise I canít get a hundred each time... I have a job... Have a responsibility towards the team... I do the best I can.

On having been asked by the Board to explain his Chappell-specific comments after the World Cup

Thatís done with... I wasnít upset... I was asked to state my position and I did so.

On the vice-captaincy drama

Iím not sure whether everybody was told that Iíd only agreed to be the vice-captain (in ODIs) till the World Cup... The selectors were looking for somebody senior and I put my hand up. However, Iíd made it clear I wouldnít accept the post after the World Cup... So, whereís the question of my being removed as vice-captain' Test cricket is different.

On back to opening with another former captain, Sourav Ganguly

As I said yesterday, heís a fabulous player and itís a treat to watch him... Sourav and I understand each other well.

[With 17 hundred-plus opening partnerships, Sachin and Sourav have gone ahead of Matthew Hayden and Adam Gilchrist. Actually, the Indian stalwartsí last three-figure stand had been almost six years ago.]

On whether wins such as the one on Friday will help the fans quickly forget Team Indiaís World Cup debacle

(After a pause) In India, the public tends to get very emotional... The fans must be patient... They should always be with the team... Be around us players, not go against the team.

Finally, on whether his recent performances have made him more hungry

Like the other batsmen, even I want to score big whenever I take guard... Whatever the performances, that desire doesn't change. Itís the driving force.

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