Mohali:Milestone man Sachin Tendulkar on Friday asserted that he would play as long as he enjoys his game and nobody should dare tell him when to stop.
Basking in his new-found glory as the highest Test run-getter after breaking Brian Lara's record of 11,953 runs, the batting great said he does not have anything to prove to anyone and nobody should tell him when to call it quits.
"I don't need to prove anything to anyone. I have been around for 19 years and all those 19 years I did not play to prove anything to anyone, not in my first year not in the 10th, 15th or 19th year," a combative Tendulkar said after the opening day's play against Australia.
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"What I need to do is to contribute to whatever my team's requirements are. I'm not here to answer what x,y, and z is writing about me or saying about me. People will say lot of things, not necessarily they are always correct. I don't take their opinions seriously," he said.
"What happens in the dressing room is more imporant. The planning of the captain, coach, manager and other players are much more important. I just focus on that," he said.
Tendulkar made it clear that though the clamour is growing for the retirement of the senior players in the side, he was in no mood to hang up his boots.
"I'm going to continue obviously, I'm feeling good. As I said, so many things are being said and written and not necessarily those are right. Those are only opinions", he said.
"What I feel within is more important. People tend to give opinion about what's going in my mind, so I don't know how they can figure out what's going in my mind, which is something even I can't figure out at times," Tendulkar quipped.
"As long as I enjoy I'll play. I don't need x, y, z to tell me when I should stop or when I should continue. When I started, no one told me you should continue, so nobody needs to tell me now either," he said.
Taking a dig at his critics, he said "people sometimes throw stones and you converted them into milestones."
The champion batsman, however, said becoming Test cricket's highest run-getter was the biggest achievement of his career.
"It is definitely the biggest achievement in 19 years of my career. It can't happen overnight. The journey has been fantastic with ups and downs. It was a process of success," he said.
Tendulkar admitted not winning a World Cup rankles him but refused to commit to hang around for the 2011 World Cup.
"Of course this is something we came very close to win in 2003 but it was so near yet so far. For me, I now just want to go out and enjoy, not thinking about targets and goals. When it comes in the vicinity, I would focus my energy on that," he said.
The champion batsman said that it was satisfying that today's world record knock had come before his home crowd though he did not mind the presence of spectators was sparse.
Summing up his 19-year-long journey, he said "the journey is a cycle of life. It's a package deal, there are ups and downs...every experience has contributed in making me a better cricketer".
Asked about Sourav Ganguly's presence in the non-striker's end, he said Sourav had reminded him that he was his partner on the day he reached his 35th ton.
Tendulkar also heaped praise on captain Anil Kumble who was ruled out from the match owing to a shoulder injury, saying he has probably been the greatest bowler and human being he has come across.
"Anil has probably been the greatest bowler that India has produced and getting 600 wickets is no ordinary feat. It's a special achievement, simply fantastic," he said about Kumble.
He said he had seen Kumble bowl over the past 17-18 years. "He has a big heart and he is a champion," he said
Tendulkar admitted that it would be a "little difficult" catching proper sleep today, but said it did not have anything to do with his record breaking feat.
"It is normal for me, may be my body prepares that way. I have experienced this many times in the past as well," he said.