Mirpur: India's batting legend Sachin Tendulkar, who got his landmark 100th international century against Bangladesh on Friday, ended all speculation about his immediate retirement saying he would carry on playing international cricket as long as he enjoys the game.
"When I think of retirement, I will not hide it. Don't worry about it. I will carry on as long as I enjoy it," said Tendulkar.
Having waited for just over a year to get the 100th international ton, Tendulkar said it has been a tough phase for him. The joy, however, was short-lived as India lost the match despite Tendulkar's 114.
"I can't think of anything at this stage. It has been a tough phase for me. I started off the season batting reasonably well, batted well in Australia without much luck. It doesn't really matter how many hundreds you score, in the end you have to put your head down and grind it out for the team," said Tendulkar.
Tendulkar said many a times during the last year he felt frustrated at not getting the milestone.
"I am a human being and I will be honest. Many a time I was frustrated and it does play on your mind," he said.
When someone pointed out that he has turned every stone thrown at him into a milestone, Tendulkar said: "The 100th ton was tough, but I don't play for milestones. I just play for the love of the game. The process that started way back in 1989 is still continuing. I still make mistakes after more than 20 years of playing international cricket.
"It was testing time for me and I thank god for whatever has come my way. I don't take things for granted. Whatever score I am batting on, I don't take things for granted. You have to be on your toes. I have to execute the plans of my team. The century was not the only thing that was playing in my mind. I avoided looking at the scoreboard and personal score but kept a track of the run rate."
The 38-year old said he wasn't thinking too much about the milestone despite the unprecedented attention by his fans and the media.
"To be honest, I was not really thinking about it. The media started it all. Wherever I went, to the restaurant, room service, housekeeping, everyone was talking about the 100th hundred. It was surprising as nobody talked about my 99 hundreds."
Tendulkar slowed down a bit while getting to the magical figure. When asked about how he paced his innings, Tendulkar said: "It was slightly different; the ball was not coming onto the bat. Virat (Kohli) and I were discussing that 275-280 would be a decent score on this wicket.
Many feel Tendulkar's feat won't be repeated but he thinks the important thing is to play for the team.
"It hasn't sunk in but I have definitely lost about 50 kilos," he quipped when asked about the significance of his achievement.
Asked about the Bangladesh team, Tendulkar said: "Bangladesh is a good underrated team. People still talk of Bangladesh as if they don't know how to play cricket. The way they played against Pakistan is a proof of their good cricket. They have been in international cricket for quite some time."
His message to the youngsters: "Dreams do come true. I had to wait for one for 22 years (the World Cup). So go out there and chase your dreams."