'100th hundred the toughest of them all' - Tendulkar
Sachin Tendulkar has said his 100th international hundred "was the toughest of them all", after achieving the milestone against Bangladesh, in Mirpur, during the Asia Cup. Tendulkar went 33 innings without a century between India's group match against South Africa in the World Cup and Friday's game in Mirpur, and admitted it had been a "tough phase". He said he had not really started thinking about the 100th hundred until the media began to talk about it, but it had started to play on his mind after a while.
"Yes, I have to be honest. I am human and I have emotions so I was frustrated. It does play on your mind," Tendulkar said at the post-match press conference.
During the mid-innings break, he had explained to television commentator Ramiz Raja how he had not been able to get away from talk about his 100th hundred. "It's been a tough phase for me. I started off the season batting reasonably well. I was luckless. I am not playing only for my 100th hundred. It doesn't matter how many hundreds you score, you still put your head down, grind it out and do the job for the team.
"I was not thinking about the milestone, the media started all this; wherever I went, the restaurant, room service, everyone was talking about the 100th hundred. Nobody talked about my 99 hundreds. It became mentally tough for me because nobody talked about my 99 hundreds."
Despite the struggle to get to his 100th hundred and the pressure that that had built up around it, Tendulkar was able to joke about having finally achieved it, saying he had shed "50 kilos" with the 114 he made on Friday.
Tendulkar took 36 balls to go from 80 to 100 in Mirpur, but insisted he was not playing for the record. "The hundred was not the only thing on my mind. I was thinking about getting a good total for the team. When I looked at the scoreboard, I was looking at the run-rate and what we needed to do; I was avoiding looking at my personal score."
The wait for the milestone, Tendulkar said, had made him realise the value of an international century, while the varying opinions on whether or not he should continue his pursuit had not affected him. "After scoring 99 tons you are made to realise the value of a hundred. It's not easy, it was a testing period, but there were many people who helped me.
"There are opinions, some for some against. I don't read them, I have a job to do. Ups and downs are a part of life, there is no person who has not experienced it, and they teach you a lot in life.
"I am glad about the journey. It has tested my patience, my character. So many people have had questions, I don't read any of them. Somebody who has not gone through this will have only questions, not answers."
When asked about what lay ahead, Tendulkar was firm that he was not yet considering retirement, in fact mentioning that he was glad the milestone was "out of the way, so I can focus on the matches now".
"When I consider retirement, don't worry, I will not hide it from anyone. I will play as long as I am enjoying it and as long as I can contribute to the team. I don't play for milestones; that is a perception created by a few members of the media. I play cricket because I enjoy it."
In the mid-innings break, when Ramiz asked Tendulkar what message he wanted to send to youngsters who witnessed him make history, Tendulkar said it was important to never give up on chasing your dreams. "Enjoy the game and chase your dreams," he said. "Dreams do come true. I had to wait for 22 years for India to win the World Cup."
Reactions to Sachin Tendulkar's achieving the record of a 100 international hundreds
"What stands out in an exceptional career of unbelievable achievements is Sachin Tendulkar's ability to change, adapt and mould his batting according to the conditions around him. What makes him a phenomenal player is that he has done so many things, be it scoring the highest number of Test and one-day runs or scoring a century of international centuries. What he has done is set a benchmark for future generations which, probably, would be almost impossible for anyone to emulate. He has created a new milestone, which to my mind, is like Don Bradman's average of 99.94, the most memorable feat that any cricketer has achieved."
Former India captain Rahul Dravid
"I believe Sir Donald Bradman is the greatest of them all, but seeing Tendulkar bat, I can say that when he is in top flight, in a variety of conditions, I have seen the best. He has been a genius when it comes to ability, a Trojan when it comes to work ethic and manic when it comes to his focus. Yet we often miss the little things that make him both human and exceptional. As a sportsman, I know how damaging an injury can be. For a batsman, an elbow injury and corrective surgery could be akin to a professional death knell. But the way Sachin overcame those setbacks and played at the highest level with unmatched distinction is special. Friday's century was a testimony to Sachin Tendulkar's self-belief and his unwavering focus. Many of his contemporaries who were spoken of in the same breath did not have the hunger and focus, which is why Sachin stands alone at the summit."
Former West Indies batsman Viv Richards
"@sachin_rt paaji congratulations!Its a small thing for you but a phenomenal historic achievement. Dinner's on me when we meet. Many more!:)."
India cricket batsman Virender Sehwag
"The focus should not be about how he got his 100th hundred, but how he got his 100 hundreds."
Sanjay Manjrekar, the former India batsman
"Everyone, especially the Indians, were waiting for this for a long time but it was just a matter of time before Sachin got there. The outstanding feature of Sachin is his temperament. You would never see him upset on the field. The way he has handled the fame and the fortune is truly remarkable. Well played to him."
Former Australia wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist
"The skill, the tenacity and the competitive urge still flows freely through the veins of Tendulkar. The fact that Tendulkar has handled fame so well and maintained an attacking outlook throughout is a tribute to not only his skill but also his wonderfully alert mind. Considering the length of his career and the fact that he was able to renew his attacking desires, I would now rate Tendulkar slightly ahead of Brian Lara and comfortably in front of a fading Ricky Ponting."
Former Australia captain Ian Chappell
"I congratulate Sachin on behalf of Pakistan. I am sure people in India would be extremely happy about this. [For] Anyone who wants to pursue a cricketing career, Sachin is the one to be followed."
Former Pakistan batsman Javed Miandad
"Congrats to Sachin on reaching his 100th international 100-just awesome buddy Please press no retirement Q'S and let Sachin enjoy the moment."
Former Australia leg spinner Shane Warne
"I can't see how anyone will ever get 100 international hundreds ever again. I've got 70-odd to go! Words can't describe it, especially under that kind of pressure, being the hero of India for millions, billions of people. To do that is phenomenal. He can't walk down the street, he can't get a release from cricket in a cricket-mad country. He's the greatest batter, statistically, there has ever been. It's phenomenal. I can't actually get my head around 100 international hundreds. I remember 2007 in England, he did struggle a bit comparatively. Everyone said his eyes had gone, to continue proving people wrong when he didn't need to was mind-blowing. He probably could have hung up his boots then and still been the greatest player."
Alastair Cook, the England test and one-day captain
"I join the nation in congratulating Sachin Tendulkar on his making history - a hundred centuries. He has made India proud. Tendulkar's long career has been a triumph of class, character and courage. Wish him many more innings and feats to continue inspiring the youth."
Manmohan Singh, the Indian prime minister
"India breathes normally! Sachin completes an incredible feat! A hundred 100's. Never done before, perhaps never after!!"
Indian actor Amitabh Bachchan
"Seriously has anyone actually thought about what Sachin has done here?? 100 100's!!!! Absolutely unbelievable.. Batters dream! #genius."
England cricket batsman Kevin Pietersen
"This is indeed a magnificent feat and not likely to be easily emulated. Like millions of others I have personally followed his career ever since he first played for India as a gifted 16-year-old and now, more than two decades later, his passion and personal records, which include more than 33,000 runs, is a modern day wonder."
ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat
"Ever since he made his international debut in November 1989, Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar has strode cricketing arenas the world over like a colossus. He has broken old records and set new benchmarks. He has been an inspiration to billions, and an ornament to the sport. 16 March 2012 will never be forgotten by cricket-lovers."
BCCI president N Srinivasan