Thursday, April 24, 2008

Sachin Tendulkar turns 35, but twilight is far away

The longest-serving current international cricketer Sachin Tendulkar turned 35 on Thursday, feeling as excited and enthusiastic about the game as he did on
debut 19 years ago.

The record-breaking batsman, considered an icon in his native India and around the world, dismissed any suggestions of calling it a day despite being dogged by injuries in recent years.

"I am enjoying my cricket at the moment and don't want to think too much about the future," Tendulkar, recovering from a groin injury, said in a recent television interview.

"I have been playing almost non-stop for 20 years and want to focus only on the present. I prefer to take it series by series."

Tendulkar, who made his international debut in 1989 in Pakistan, needs just 172 more runs to overtake retired West Indian Brian Lara as Test cricket's leading run-scorer.

The star batsman, with 11,782 runs from 147 Tests, will get the chance to surpass Lara when India tour Sri Lanka in July for a three-Test series.

Tendulkar is already the world's top one-day batsman with 16,361 runs and holds the world records of 39 Test and 42 one-day

Rich tributes poured in from contemporaries like Shane Warne and Ricky Ponting, and India's one-day and Twenty20 captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni as Tendulkar celebrated the day with his Mumbai team-mates and family.

Tendulkar was the only senior batsman to retain a place in the recent one-day series in Australia, scoring an unbeaten 117 and 91 to help his team clinch the best-of-three-finals against the hosts.

He may have curbed a few strokes of late, but remains one of the most innovative batsmen of his era. Such is his charisma that he hogs the limelight as much with his failures as with his successes.

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