This is my No. 1 achievement in one-day cricket: Sachin - THE MAESTRO ON THE 15000 MILESTONE AND MORE

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By LOKENDRA PRATAP SAHI in Glasgow
  • Published 1.07.07
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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 runs’ peak in ODIs.

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

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

I knew I was close, but I wasn’t counting the runs... I realised I’d 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... It’s 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, I’ve had injuries... Ups and downs... I accept it hasn’t been a smooth highway, but I’ve been on the road for a long time... It’s 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... You’ll recall he’d 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)... I’m sure my father would’ve been very proud had he been alive.

On whether he’s more comfortable now that he’s back to opening

I’ve 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 I’m going to respect the team’s requirements. That’s important.

On who authored this ‘promotion’

(Laughs) That’s an internal matter and it wouldn’t be proper to talk about it. In any case, I don’t 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, I’ve never been the type to prove a point... I’ve 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 can’t 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

That’s done with... I wasn’t upset... I was asked to state my position and I did so.

On the vice-captaincy drama

I’m not sure whether everybody was told that I’d 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, I’d made it clear I wouldn’t accept the post after the World Cup... So, where’s 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, he’s a fabulous player and it’s 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 stalwarts’ 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 India’s 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. It’s the driving force.