Mumbai:Sachin Tendulkar played the leading role in helping India beat Australia in the CB Series finals. Upon the team's arrival in India, he spoke to NDTV on a host of topics, like being the oldest member of a very young Indian side. Excerpts:
Looking back at his career
Eighteen years have been a fantastic journey. I have enjoyed every moment of it. It was my dream to play for India. After my debut (in 1989), every day has been special. I am still living my dream.
On the team atmosphere
There are plenty of youngsters in the team. The dressing room atmosphere is very lively. I like the atmosphere. It is fantastic to be around such good players. They're very talented. The team has a good blend of seniors and juniors... perfect combo.
On how the young players will shape up
All the youngsters are very talented. All they need now is the right direction and to focus energies in right direction to become better. They've worked hard. All I can say is the future looks good. But don't put too much pressure on them and let them play their own game. I've been part of terrific sides and this is one of the top sides I've been a part of.
The progress since the World Cup
After the World Cup, the team that played in Ireland, England and in India against Pakistan has been changed slightly. I hate comparing that team to this one. To get to this level takes a lot of hard work, sacrifices and dedication and family support, a combination of a lot of things. When someone has gone through so many tough times, it's not fair to compare them. We need to respect both teams just as much. It has been fantastic to be a part of both.
On the Australian tour
This series has been very satisfying. I wanted to do well here. The reception I got here was fabulous. This will always be something special for me. It was overwhelming and I will always remember it. We played very competitive cricket. We were competitive in Tests and won the ODIs, which makes it a very special tour.
On his personal form, and thoughts of the future
I am not thinking of retirement. I have heard lots of rumours about it. I don't know who is starting them. If you know I'm retiring let me know, so I'm not caught off guard. People have their own agenda and ways of judging things. I don't read articles. They don't help me in any way. People who help me, I'm regularly in touch with them. And if they think there is anything I need to work on, they tell me about it. Someone who writes needs to have the credibility. After playing for so many years I know what is expected of me and what is right and wrong. I focus my energies in the right direction
On learning from the new generation
When I started dealing with (my children) Sara and Arjun I learned to be more patient and now I'm getting to learn lots of lessons from the youngsters in team. They're young but all chalu guys. They're good-humoured and keep dressing room lively.