Dubai: He has hundred international hundreds to his name but among all of them Sachin Tendulkar ranks his century against England in Chennai in 2008 as his personal favourite because it came after the Mumbai terror attacks.
At the first event of the Celebration Series called 'An Evening with Sachin Tendulkar', the Master Blaster said: "Personal favourite is the 100 vs England three years ago in Chennai because it came after the Mumbai attacks."
The Test against England in Chennai was the first cricket match India had played after the Mumbai terror attacks in 2008 which had left the entire country grief-stricken. His unbeaten 103 was a match-winning knock which he had dedicated to the Mumbai terror victims.
The prolific batsman, however, said his century at Perth in 1992 was also among his favourites from the cricket point of view.
The Celebration Series has been launched by the FidelisWorld Group, a new entrant to the sports, entertainment, and media sectors. Sachin was also awarded the Wisden India trophy for his hundred hundreds.
Sachin shared his childhood memories with the guests present at the event. He revealed that he wanted to be like tennis legend John McEnroe. "I wanted to be like John McEnroe. I used to walk with headbands and wrist bands. So that people call me John McEnroe. But that didn't happen so I picked up a cricket bat."
Apart from his tennis idol, the master batsman, who recently became a member of Rajya Sabha, also talked about his inspiration in cricket. "I grew up watching Sunil Gavaskar and he was all the way my idol. Then I started watching Sir Viv Richards and was fascinated by him. So when I played in the nets and played a wrong shot my brother told me Gavaskar would never do that."
When asked if he remembered his debut against Pakistan and what kept him going when a Waqar Younis delivery left him with a bleeding nose, Sachin said: "It taught me it can't get worse, so if I can face this, I can play international cricket."
Sachin also spoke about his next series against England, where he played a series-winning role. When asked if the sledging by the English players distracted him, he said: "I was just 16, I was not supposed to understand what they were saying."
Sachin, who holds the records of most number of runs in ODIs and Test cricket, has been carrying the hopes of a billion cricket-crazy fans for almost 23 years now. But the legendary cricketer has a very positive approach to the expectations of his fans. "It's good that people expect things out of you otherwise it can get boring. But I don't feel people are putting pressure on me. In fact I feel they are with me."
"There have been tough times too. You can't have a path without speed breakers. But all you need to do is change gears. My family has helped me during rough times. My wife Anjali, my brother Ajit have helped me cope up because I can open up with them," he added.
Despite all the success and adulation, Sachin has remained grounded and for that he credits his father Late Ramesh Tendulkar. "Whatever I am today is because of him. When I got success at such a young age he told me - success can fade away, the only thing that remains is your personality. So be a good human. That has always remained with me."
Sachin also spoke about his teammate Yuvraj Singh, who recently completed his treatment for a rare germ cell cancer and is working his way back to cricket. "I spoke to Yuvraj a couple of days ago. He is shaping up well. Continue to pray for him," he said.