Tired of the incessant questions about his retirement, Sachin Tendulkar has insisted that the decision of when to quit cricket is his alone. He said it would be "selfish" to make an exit when he was "on top" of his game. Tendulkar also lashed out at some of the former India cricketers who had suggested he should follow Rahul Dravid in retiring, saying they had no business making decisions for him.
"When I feel I don't have that, on that day, I will think of retirement," Tendulkar said at a media conference in Mumbai, convened by his brand managers World Sports Group to celebrate his achievement of scoring 100 international hundreds. "I feel those who say you should retire at the top are selfish," he said, "because when you are at the top, you should serve the country instead of retiring.
"When I retire is something I will decide because when I started it was not decided by someone else. Those who are advising me about retirement did not bring me into the team. I get my strength from my coaches and family."
Earlier, in a special hour-long meeting with editors from the Indian media, which preceded the press conference, Tendulkar had said he had already lived out all his dreams. "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."
At the same time, Tendulkar insisted his repeated statements that he had not at all thought about retirement were genuine and he was not trying to conceal anything from the media. "Maybe 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?"
Tendulkar said he was not looking too far into the future and hence could not predict whether or not he would be available for the 2015 World Cup, which would be his seventh appearance in the tournament. "When this question was asked in 2007 [about the 2011 World Cup], it was tough for me to answer. It's the same situation: I don't know what to say about 2015. If people keep praying for me that means a lot. I will keep trying, the rest is in god's hands. I just want to enjoy the game. I don't want to set targets."
After a 33-innings long wait for the 100th century, Tendulkar got it in anticlimactic circumstances, with India losing to Bangladesh, after Tendulkar's 114 off 147 balls had built a total of 289, and consequently missing out on the Asia Cup final. Tendulkar said the events being held to commemorate his achievement were not just to celebrate that single century but all the work he has done in his career.
"I don't think we are celebrating just that game. Where I have reached today, it has taken me 23 years to be at that place. Results are very important for me. Yes, it was a disappointment for us to not make the final, and let me tell you there was no major celebration after I scored a hundred as we had lost the match."
Edited by Dustin Silgardo
Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo