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I want to serve India more: Sachin

Mumbai: Two decades ago, when India’s World Cup winning captain Kapil Dev placed a friendly bet, challenging Sachin Tendulkar to play 10 years for India, little did Sachin realise that he would not only win the bet, but actually double those years. Having won that bet hands down, the Master Blaster now wants to continue playing for India.

“It’s a great feeling, completing 20 years of international cricket. It’s a dream to play for India. The more, the better,” Tendulkar said on Friday. “Cricket has been an integral part of life for me. It’s hard to imagine life without cricket. It’s hard to express the feeling.

However, Sachin denied saying that he wanted to score 15,000 Test runs.

“A lot of things are attributed to me that I’ve never said. I never said I wanted to score 15,000 runs (in Tests) before I retire,” Sachin said.

“When I made my debut, Kapil (Dev) challenged me and invited me to bet on me playing for India for the next 10 years. Now I am close to doubling that number,” the 36-year-old maestro said at a function to announce his new sponsorship deal with sports gear manufacturers Adidas.

The deal will see Tendulkar playing with custom-made Adidas bats from the tri-series in Sri Lanka. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has signed a contract with Nike for apparel sponsorship of the Indian team till next year, but a BCCI source said Tendulkar’s association with Adidas would not constitute ambush marketing since “the bat space (for marketing) is the players’s prerogative.”

“I don’t think we have co-created a brand with the idea of ambush marketing in mind. Our only aim is to extend our association with Tendulkar. We have now co-branded a bat which carries his DNA, which is a dream come true for us,” Andreas Gellner, Managing Director of Adidas India, said.

On the topic of bats, Tendulkar said he always had a rapport with his bat. “The bat speaks to me,” the veteran 159 Tests with 12,733 runs said.

Tendulkar did not believe that the balance of the game has been affected with the constant improvement of bats whereas the ball has remained the same over the years.

“I think the quality of the ball had also changed over the years. I don’t think the quality was the same in 1960 or 1975,” he said.

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