Amid speculations of retirement, ace cricketer and newly nominated Rajya Sabha MP Sachin Tendulkar said he would keep playing cricket, and that the sport is his life.
Mr. Tendulkar was speaking at a Maharashtra Day celebration here on Tuesday. On the occasion he was felicitated for his achievement of 100 centuries.
“I am not a politician. I am a sportsman and will always be one,” Mr. Tendulkar stated, even as he expressed gratitude at being chosen for the Rajya Sabha membership.
“When the President nominates you to the Rajya Sabha, it's an honour. As a sportsman, I will contribute for the betterment of the game. For this, I need the support of the Indian people,” he said, laying to rest the doubts over his performance as an MP.
“Before me, great people like Lata didi [Mangeshkar] and Prithviraj Kapoor have been nominated to this post. I want to say that I have been nominated because of my contribution to cricket for twenty two and a half years.
“The appreciation and the awards I have received have been because of cricket. Cricket is my life, and it will always be. I will keep playing cricket,” he said.
Asked how important the 100th 100 was, Mr. Tendulkar said that it was something that happened along the way. “Winning the World Cup was more important. The World Cup victory was the biggest day for Indian cricket in this generation.”
He said that he had waited for the victory for 22 years of his career, without losing hope.
“John Wright [the then coach] told me in 2003 that I could become the first player to score hundred centuries. One has to keep chasing dreams till they come true,” he said.