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Cricket | International

Relieved after 100th ton, Sachin will go on



India batsman Sachin Tendulkar on Sunday dismissed speculation of an imminent retirement while conceding that the pressure of chasing an unprecedented 100th international century had unnerved him.

"No one can tell me when to retire because those advising me about retirement did not bring me into the team," Tendulkar said at a function to commemorate his century of centuries. "I will decide when to retire."

There had been speculation that Tendulkar would announce his retirement, at least from one-dayers, after reaching the milestone, particularly as he had been limiting his participation in the 50-over format for two years.

Tendulkar, who was stuck on 99 centuries since last year's World Cup, scored 114 in the Asia Cup against Bangladesh for his 49th ODI century earlier this month, adding to his 51 in tests.

"It was a tough phase (going for more than a year without a century) and there were times when I did not bat up to my expectations. But I never lost hope. Remember, I also waited for 22 years to win the World Cup. When I finally got the century, I asked God what I had done wrong, why did it take so long?" he said.

"I don't play for records and I don't know if my record will be broken and when. I only hope it is an Indian batsman who does it," said Tendulkar, who holds most major batting records including most runs in tests (15 470 from 188) and one-day internationals (18 426 from 463) and most centuries in either format.

Tendulkar is also the first batsman to score a double-century in one-dayers. His record score of 200 not out against South Africa at Gwalior in 2010 was only recently broken by compatriot Virender Sehwag, who smashed 219 against the West Indies at Indore.

"I don't need to prove anything to anyone. I only enjoy playing the sport as I have the passion and love for the game. My focus will always be only on enjoying the game. I always dreamed of being regarded as one of the top players of the game and when you reach there, you want to be right there with the group," he said.

Tendulkar said his priority would be test cricket and that he will always cherish the fact that Sir Donald Bradman picked him in his all-time test XI.

"There has to be more importance to test cricket. This format is very challenging for which you need planning. You need to play at a different pace at different times. If you ask any player, most would tell you that tests have to be No 1 and I have no different opinion," he said.

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