Legacy more important than records for Sachin

Mumbai, July 13: As he approaches yet another major milestone, Sachin Tendulkar has reiterated his belief that the best way he can go about his business is to not think of records.

The Indian batsman is one century away from 100 international tons, and while he missed the opportunity to hit the 100th in the World Cup final, it would be equally appropriate should he do so at Lord’s next week when India take on England in the 2000th Test.

Tendulkar already has 48 one-day hundreds and 51 centuries in Tests, but insists that bringing up number 52 is not occupying his mind ahead of next week’s first Test.

“I am not thinking of records,” Tendulkar told the Daily Telegraph. “I am just thinking of enjoying this tour. The secret to any performance is not in chasing records. I think about, ‘What is the best way to enjoy the game, and how can I enhance that enjoyment factor?’

“If I enhance the enjoyment then, naturally, the standard of play becomes higher. To me, that is more important. If I am playing well, things can happen. I don’t need to go around chasing them. It is a process. You construct a solid foundation and build on it.”

Tendulkar has always been an advocate of the ‘records mean little’ policy, so what exactly is it that will motivate him in the closing stages of his career?

The 38-year-old feels that leaving a positive legacy is something that is important to him.

“For me, it’s not about breaking records or creating new ones,” he said. “It’s about adding value to my team. Records will be set by me, they might be broken by someone else.

“They’re not going to stay permanently. But the impression that I leave on people will last forever, I feel. The impression that I leave behind – to me that is important. If I can motivate the next young cricketers, that will be a big contribution.”

India arrived in England on Tuesday morning as the top-ranked Test side in the world and also World Cup champions.

Having opted out of the tour of the West Indies, where India won the ODI series 3-2 and the Tests 1-0, Tendulkar has not played for his country since the World Cup final but still has extremely fond memories of the tournament.

“I was extremely delighted. It was something I had always dreamt about,” Tendulkar said of winning his sixth World Cup. “You start playing cricket, and one day you walk away as part of a world champion team.

“I took up playing serious cricket because in 1983, we won the World Cup, and that was a big turning point in terms of considering cricket a full-time profession. That moment was a decisive one. I felt, ‘I want to play for India one day’. It was a huge boost. From then I started working hard.”