Mumbai: Over the last two decades, there is very little missing from Sachin Tendulkar’s list of achievements as a batsman but the absence of a World Cup in his trophy cabinet continues to rankle the Indian run-machine.
The 37-year old, with more than 32,000 runs and 97 centuries in international cricket, came closest to ending that quest when he was the highest scorer in the 2003 World Cup in South Africa, where Australia beat India in the final.
The Feb. 19-April 2 World Cup in the sub-continent represents, in all probability, Tendulkar’s last chance to set the record straight and the batsman is all too aware of the event’s importance.
“I still want to achieve something and everyone knows that,” a smiling Tendulkar said at an award ceremony on Friday, adding that India’s rise to number one in the world test rankings has given him confidence to believe a cup victory was possible.
“To get there was not easy, we had to work very hard,” he added. “There were lots of challenges but we stood together, backing each other, trusting each other and achieved various things as a team."
“When we got there (in 2009) many people thought that it was may be a matter of 30-40 days as the South Africa series (2010) was coming up and no one expected us to do well to be honest.
“After losing the first test in Nagpur, we got to hear that soon we will lose the number one spot. But here I am standing today after almost a year and we are still number one.
“To get there is wonderful but to stay there for a year in this competitive era is just fantastic.”
India are currently number two in the one-day rankings and Tendulkar singled out coach Gary Kirsten for special praise for the team’s improved performance.
“Gary Kirsten has brought a remarkable change in our side,” Tendulkar said about the former South Africa opener.
“I found the atmosphere in the dressing room quite different and that has brought all the changes.
“I think all batsmen have performed well since 2007.”