'He is not going to stop at 35' - Gavaskar

Moments after Sachin Tendulkar created a record for most centuries in Test cricket, Sunil Gavaskar, the man whose achievement Tendulkar surpassed, and Kapil Dev, the former Indian allrounder, heaped praise on the master.
Gavaskar, a man who has been close to Tendulkar throughout his career, was lavish in his praise. "I have said it before that Tendulkar is the closest thing to batting perfection that the game has seen," he told Press Trust of India. "Look at the stillness of the head, the straightness of his backlift, the ease of playing shots off either the front foot or the back foot and of course, the range of shots that he possesses against both pace and spin in all kinds of conditions.

"What makes him even more special is his demeanour on and off the field," he continued. "He is the perfect role model for youngsters who want to make a success of their lives. Congratulations are also due to his family who have helped him to stay focused. They deserve a big round of applause too for their part in his success. Well done Sachin, and keep that Champagne on ice."

Kapil, who was in the Indian team when Tendulkar made his debut as a 16-year old in 1989, was among the first to pay tribute to Tendulkar's achievement. "I think it's important he sets another target, another challenge, because it's very hard once you achieve everything," Kapil told BBC Asian Network Sport. "It's entirely up to him now, how long he wants to play."

Gavaskar too was adamant that Tendulkar had much more to contribute to Indian cricket. "Make no mistake, he is not going to stop at 35," he added. "He will score many more and give pleasure to cricket lovers all over the world ... he is only 32 years old and should be able to play for another six years at least, if not eight. He could well finish with 50 centuries in Tests and be the first to score 100 international centuries. Congrats Sachin, and God bless."

Wasim Akram, the legendary Pakistani bowler, was convinced that the best was yet to come. "This guy will get more dangerous now. He will break many more records," he was reported as saying by Mid-Day, a Mumbai-based tabloid. "The pressure is off and India will win more matches now."

Akram, who bowled to Tendulkar in the 1980-90 Test series in Pakistan, remembered him as being something special. "We bowlers did not fear him but we were wary of him. He is undoubtedly the most talented player I have seen," he added. "This hundred had to come. He's got plenty of cricket left in him."

Sourav Ganguly, who was at the non-striker's end when Tendulkar crossed the milestone, was glad to have been there. "Today is Sachin's day...I'm really fortunate to congratulate him first," he told Mid-Day. "He's a champion. I want to use the word genius for him because of his 73 hundreds, about 25,000 international runs, 17 years of play maintaining the consistency - only a genius can do that."

Cricketers aside, Tendulkar even received a message from Abdul Kalam, India's President. "The nation is proud of you and may you achieve success in future in all your ventures," President Kalam wrote in a special note to Tendulkar.

Tendulkar finally fell for 109 early on the second morning, and departed to a standing ovation from the crowd at the Feroz Shah Kotla ground.