Post match conference after maiden ton was toughest: Sachin Tendulkar

Sachin Tendulkar had scored his maiden ton, a match-saving 119 not out against England in Manchester Test in 1990 Getty Images

Mumbai: Mar 25, 2012

Sachin Tendulkar on Sunday took a walk down memory lane and recalled the experience of addressing a press conference as a 17-year-old after scoring his maiden ton, saying it was a tougher obstacle than getting to the landmark.

Tendulkar recently achieved the incredible feat of completing 100th international hundred but even the memory of his first ton, when he had scored a match-saving 119 not out against England in Manchester Test in 1990, is still very fresh in his mind.

“First hundred … I remember. I went in to bat when we were 118 for 4 or so down (actually 109 for 4). In my mind obviously I (thought) should try and stay not out, that was the need of the hour. We lost four wickets … senior players were out. I got into a good partnership with Manoj Prabjakar (who made 67 not out),” Tendulkar recalled at a media interaction here.

“I had to be careful in my shot selection and at the same time made sure to put away the balls that needed to. I batted with open mind. I remember, when I was 87 or 88, Angus Fraser bowled a bouncer and I ducked. It hit the back of my bat went to fine leg. I was glad it did not go to keeper.

Tendulkar said he was eager to score his maiden ton, especially after missing out in New Zealand.

“The previous one (century) that I missed in New Zealand (in Napier in February when he was out for 88) was on my mind.

I did not want to miss my first 100 and before going in to bat I wanted to stay not out.

“When I managed to do that but a tougher obstacle after that was when Madhav Mantri Sir, who was our manager at that time, came and told me …you know there is a press conference. I had not attended a single press conference before that and did not know what to expect.

“So I started asking sir (in Marathi) ‘Kaai Honaar’? … what will happen? What are they going to do… do we need to do all that… and he said …don’t worry, I will be there with you. I look back at all those things, and it has been a fantastic journey,” he said.

Talking about the state of cricket and sports in general in India, Tendulkar said the scene is getting better.

“In my case I was fortunate that my coach made me play lot of practice matches which improved my match temperament. I learnt that no matter how much you bat in the nets, match situation practice is very important.

“I think the BCCI’s National Cricket Academy is very good and it is getting better. I feel other sports are undergoing changes but I can’t say how good their facilities are because I haven’t followed them. And the things I am not aware of, I don’t want to make loose statements. In cricket, we are going good but we can always get better,” he said.

In the middle of the press conference on Sunday, Tendulkar was asked for tips by a young admirer and the batsman obliged.

“My only tip to you is to chase your dream. If you want to play for India, chase it. Don’t find shortcuts. Just enjoy the game, have a big heart and enjoy life,” he said. (PTI)

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