In an exclusive interview to NDTV's Nikhil Naz, Sachin Tendulkar opens up on how he plans to conduct himself in Rajya Sabha, what keeps his passion alive, why he doesn't bowl much anymore, Roger Federer and lots more. Here is the full transcript of the interview....
NDTV: My guest today is the Go-Karting champion of the Indian cricket team. I also know that he's a very good pool player and this one I can tell you with a lot of guarantee that he's the best table tennis player in the entire cricketing fraternity. And in all of this, there is this small matter of scoring 100 international hundreds as well. The only reason why I did not introduce you with your cricket records is because everyone knows them. These are things they probably wouldn't know. But you know it's been roughly around three months since you've reached that landmark. You spoke right after it. Sometimes it takes time to sink in. How does it feel now, you probably would have looked back, to have reached where no man has ever reached before?
Sachin Tendulkar: I'm relieved, I can say it's out of the way now. Because just before that there was a huge build up. You know, for almost 10-12 months there was a huge build-up. And then, you know, I got close to it, but somehow it just didn't happen. But there were no reasons for that, I thought there were stages where I possibly batted one of the best in my life. So it wasn't as if I wasn't batting badly or whatever, I was batting well. But I felt maybe, occasionally, luck wasn't on my side. And sometimes I got out playing, you know, not the kind of shots I should've played. But on the whole, if I have to look back, then I have to say that this journey has been one of the toughest in my career and I'm happy that it's over and I can, you know, move forward.
NDTV: And you're relieved and can I just tell you that we are as well. I was there at the Oval, I was there at Wankhede and I was already giving my lines that Sachin has reached his 100th hundred, so we were equally disappointed. But you know, I have spoken to a lot of great batsmen, Sunil Gavaskar, Geoffrey Boycott, they remember every run that they have scored. They never forget. So I've got 3 or 4 questions with regards to your 100th hundred journey; let's see how much you remember. Do you remember who was the bowler when you reached 200, the first man in ODI cricket to reach 200?
Sachin Tendulkar: It was (Charl) Langeveldt and I played towards backward point.
NDTV: Alright, so you've got the shot as well. Who was the non-striker when you made your first Test hundred that was in England?
Sachin Tendulkar: Manoj Prabhakar
NDTV: You're absolutely right. Your fastest ODI hundred? I can give you a hint, it's very close to where we are at the moment.
Sachin Tendulkar: Got to be Sharjah then.
NDTV: That's right, it was in Sharjah, it was in 71 balls against Zimbabwe. Who was field ...
Sachin Tendulkar: ... In 1998, November
NDTV: 1998 November, absolutely right. Who was the fielder? You were first man to be given out by the third umpire, who was the fielder ...
Sachin Tendulkar: .. Jonty.
NDTV: Jonty Rhodes, absolutely right. Okay, you've only been stumped once in your Test career, who was the bowler?
Sachin Tendulkar: Ashley Giles in Bangalore.
NDTV: Right so you time the ball as well on the cricket field and off it as well. That was 100 % correct. You know, everyone talks about your 100th hundred but sometimes a batsman plays a very important innings, which doesn't reach the hundred mark. So tell me one innings where you didn't reach the hundred but you were as happy as you would've been had you made the hundred?
Sachin Tendulkar: I would say that there were many. Because whenever we win and I have not scored a hundred, it really doesn't matter. You know, eventually it's winning that matters for me then. Then I can say that in the recent past of what I can remember is the Delhi Test match against the West Indies. I scored 76 in the second innings and that was one Test match where I felt that I did not score a hundred, but we won and I played an important role in the second innings. So, that would be one
NDTV: You've got your 100th hundred and you also got your first hundred. Which was more pressure relieving? To get to your first hundred in Test cricket or to get your 100th?
Sachin Tendulkar: The first hundred I wouldn't even compare to this one, because in the first hundred nobody was expecting me to. You know, every-time I walked in it was not like, you know, you have to score your first hundred. But for my 100th hundred, every-time when I walked out and I didn't score, it was a huge disappointment. It really didn't matter how well I batted, it really didn't matter and I felt that we needed to stop that. Because you know, I'm batting well and I'm contributing so, you know, whenever I have done that, that also has an importance.
NDTV: You know there is this very interesting statement that you made recently, that you just don't want to be remembered by your cricket stats. Now that's very intriguing, especially for someone like me, I just want to know what is it that you have got planned because it's very tough for people to think of Sachin Tendulkar outside of cricket, anything that you do.
Sachin Tendulkar: I haven't planned anything right now, because I feel that when I'm focusing on cricket and when I'm playing active, competitive cricket, then my focus and concentration should be on cricket and nothing else. Whenever I plan to do whatever, you know, well when the appropriate time is there I will take that step. But at this moment it is cricket.
NDTV: You know I know you are a very soft-spoken man. You know it's going to be very difficult to out shout those people in the Parliament. You think you can do it?
Sachin Tendulkar: No I don't think I need to shout and I hope, you know, that no one will make me shout. Why should one be shouting? You can politely put your point across and say whatever you have to, and then, whatever happens, happens.
NDTV: Well we've got a few questions from some people with regards to your 100th hundred. Vikas Garg sent in a question on our website, saying that he's been working for four years and he's already bored of his work. He wants to know, you have been playing cricket for the last 23 years. How do you keep that passion alive?
Sachin Tendulkar: Haven't thought really. You know, passion is very much there, I don't how one can keep it alive. It's there. I mean I don't have to work hard for it. I love the sport and you know, it's very much there within me. I've not had to work hard and follow certain routines so that my passion stays alive. It's been there.
NDTV: Okay, Nandakumar wants to know that, you've been a very successful ODI bowler. Why don't we see Sachin Tendulkar bowl more in ODI cricket?
Sachin Tendulkar: In Australia I had a groin injury in 2007, so after that whenever I had bowled I felt a little bit of strain. So, you know, I guess it's just one of those things and also my foot injury, so you know I'm just trying to protect that. If I push too hard then there's a possibility that it may flare up, so I'm just taking precautions and there are bowlers in the team.
NDTV: Right, as long as you're scoring runs nobody seems to mind. Venkat wants to know what is tough as a batsman, is it pace bowling or spin bowling?
Sachin Tendulkar: It's quality bowling. I mean, it need not just be fast bowling, sometimes if you get good swing bowling, then that is also difficult to play. And then sometimes when there is genuine fast bowling, with accuracy, then obviously it is not easy to handle.
NDTV: Alright, day and night Test matches are being proposed and in fact they've said that if both countries agree then you should play. You think it is good for Test cricket because it was dying in a way?
Sachin Tendulkar: I think it's not as easy as it seems. Because as long as you're sure of the cricket ball retaining its colour and it's being picked by the batters, then you can try it out, but I wouldn't straight away go to Test cricket. Why not first try it out in first class cricket and get the response from the players all across the world, not just a few countries, but all across the world and then take that step forward.
NDTV: Has there been any moment in sport when you were watching as a spectator that has brought tears to your eyes, while watching it on TV or anything, any Indian sport?
Sachin Tendulkar: I think when we won the World Cup finals. I was watching, I mean I was in the dressing room. So you know, we all cried. We all cried happy tears and that was one moment for which I waited for 22 years and every moment was worth waiting for, because I don't think I've been happier on a cricket field than that.
NDTV: I want to ask you about tennis. You're a big tennis fan, a big Roger Federer fan. Federer going through a slump, what do you make of the tennis scenario at the moment?
Sachin Tendulkar: I think a great player will always be a great player. Class is permanent. Form can be, you know, there can be dips.
NDTV: Do you see him winning another grand slam?
Sachin Tendulkar: Yes I think he can, for sure.
NDTV: Alright now coming to F1. You are a big Formula One fan and Michael Schumacher fan, now he's gone to Mercedes. You are also a Ferrari fan, so are you split somewhere in the middle or you stick with it?
Sachin Tendulkar: No I was a Ferrari fan because of Schumacher and then when Schumacher sort of retired in between and then he came back. So when he retired, the interest level had gone down a bit, again the interest level is there but not ...
NDTV: ... But I believe that your son is an (Fernando) Alonso fan. So it is tough then, you have to support it?
Sachin Tendulkar: Yes but now his passion is cricket. Yes, he watches a little bit of F1 but not as much.
NDTV: Okay, so the Indian team is going for the Olympics. So any message or anything that you're looking forward to? And do you believe they'll do much better than they've done before?
Sachin Tendulkar: I pray to God that they get all the strength and that they go out there and perform and express themselves, and all I can say is just enjoy yourselves and the rest will follow. They've really worked hard for a number of years now and yes, the expectations are there, but who wants to go there and fail? They are all going out there to give their best and get medals for India and that would be just unbelievable, more the better. So, all the very best and whether you bring back medals or not, what matters is your effort and we are very proud of you.
NDTV: Thanks so much for talking to us.
Sachin Tendulkar: Thank you.