Mumbai: Sachin Tendulkar on Sunday refused to compare his stupendous feat of scoring 100 international centuries with other milestones in the game like that of Muttiah Muralitharan`s 800 Test wickets for Sri Lanka.
"I don`t like comparisons. I think getting to 800 wickets is a great thing, absolutely fabulous," said the senior batsman in a media interaction on Sunday.
"All the other players who have done well and have been successful at international level, they have made huge sacrifices. There has been lot of discipline, commitment and dedication in their life to serve the nation. I respect all of them .
"I also respect the guys who have not been successful because to play for your nation, you still have to go through the rigours and without that it doesn`t happen. I don`t like to compare and I respect every individual, who has achieved something."
Asked whether anyone else can break his record, Tendulkar said he wanted an Indian to do so.
"About breaking the record of 100 hundreds, I don’t know. All the records are meant to be broken. If somebody breaks it, then he must be an Indian."
When told he had not said anything categorical about his retirement plans, Tendulkar retorted, "I have answered. May be you guys have not understood properly. I have always said that when I decide to retire I will let you know. Where is the question of not answering?"
He reiterated that the passion to play kept him going in ODI cricket even after achieving the dream of being part of the World Cup winning squad.
"It is the passion for the game and as long as I feel the passion, as long as I feel the desire is there, as long as I feel that I can go out and deliver then I should be playing. But the day I feel I cannot do it, I cannot motivate myself even though I am performing then it is time to re-look at my decisions. There might be phases where I am not performing well but I am motivated enough and passionate enough, then I need not worry," he explained.
From personal experience, he advised the younger lot of cricketers to maintain focus and not be weighed down by external pressures...by criticism.
"I think it is an important factor to focus and not think about the external factor which sometimes weigh you down. There will be phases in their careers when the going gets tough, but that is a time that whatever you had practiced over the years and I am not talking about practising in the nets, but outside the field helps.
"My advice would be to keep an eye on the ball and not what X, Y or Z is talking. Sometimes it feels good when people are talking good things about you, but it does feel bad when people criticise you.
"So there has to be a balance between reading good things and bad things, and you got to maintain that balance and balance in your emotions about the way you celebrate and the way you respond to disappointments.
"If the balance is there, then in those tough phases you will be able to deal with it but if there is imbalance that is when the problem starts. It is upto an individual, and there is no particular formula to it that if you do this or that, it is going to work. There are guys who get motivated by certain things and it is important to know yourself, as to what works for an individual and follow that.
Asked about the difference between the older generation of which he was a part and the newer lot in the dressing room, Tendulkar said the only change was in the choice of music being heard.
"The difference has been only the choice of music. That is where the problem is. Otherwise we do the same things," he said adding the overt aggression of the youngsters was another difference.
"I spoke about aggression, which need not be always vocal. There are youngsters who want to react to things immediately. I keep telling them don`t worry, after sometime you will have a different opinion about that. With age your thoughts change, the way you react changes. It is part of growing -- what you do when you are 17, you don’t do at 35. It is a time-consuming process. It happens with everyone."
Asked about whether he will be playing Tests four years hence, he said he would not know.
"I don’t know. When I started playing cricket I didn’t see myself playing for 22 years either. I don’t know what is in store. It is in God’s hands.
Asked whether anyone else can have such a long career as his in future, he replied he was not in a position to answer it.
"I don’t know really. 20-22 years of playing is a long time. You can literally count on one hand how many guys have done in the history of cricket. It is definitely not easy. To make that prediction that somebody is going to play for 20 years, I don`t think I am good enough to answer that.
He said he knew from personal experience that Praveen Kumar was stricken with tennis elbow on the tour of South Africa before the World Cup that spoilt his chances of playing in the mega event and be part of history when the bowler approached him for advice.
"I saw Praveen Kumar in South Africa last year. He had injured his elbow and, before the physio could examine it, I said apply ice and said `it doesn`t look good I am sorry` because I knew it was tennis elbow."
Tendulkar made it clear he had no more dreams to chase after playing for the country and being part of the World Cup winning squad.
"I don`t have any other dream now. There were two big dreams -- one was playing for India and the second was to lift the World Cup. That was my biggest dream," he replied.