"I don't know how to describe my journey. It's been fantastic so far. I enjoyed it. There have been ups and downs and I have been able to overcome those obstacles," said Sachin Tendulkar, after he broke Brian Lara's world record of most Test runs.
Towards the end of his press conference, Sachin Tendulkar was asked how the team was planning to celebrate Anil Kumble's 38th birthday. "There's a cake in the dressing room, and I'm pretty sure he'll get to eat quite a bit of it. Some from his mouth, the rest through his ears and his nose," he said, eyes crinkled, giggle suppressed, looking and sounding much younger than his actual age of 35.
Excerpts from the interaction:
On breaking the record
I don't know how to describe my journey. It's been fantastic so far. I enjoyed it. There have been ups and downs and I have been able to overcome those obstacles. Success is a process and during that journey, sometimes there are stones at you and you convert them into milestones.
On missing out on a century
I was disappointed on getting out at 88. After the crackers went off, we decided to spend as much time in the middle. It was reverse-swinging a bit, but the new ball took me by surprise.
Test and ODI records, what next?
My next target will be to continue playing as I am. I'm enjoying the game. When I started as a 16-year-old, there were no targets. I just wanted to go and enjoy every moment.
How would he sum up his journey ?
I don't think I can. It has been a fantastic journey. For me, it has never been about breaking records, the milestones have come along. I've had great support from my family, friends and my coach Ramakant Achrekar, which has worked for me so well.
Does he see the record being broken?
All the records are meant to be broken. I'm pleased that it came my way. I don't know about the future. There might be another 16-year-old who may not have any targets, who knows where he's going to go?
His thoughts as he looked to the sky
I thanked God and sought my late father's blessings. Had he been alive, he would have been proud.
At what point in his career did he start thinking about this record?
As the career progresses, the subconscious starts thinking about it. People start talking about records. That is how you are aware of all these things. There have been occasions when I swore to my team mates that I didn't know how many runs I needed. Some didn't believe it but I was willing to swear on anyone. That's when they believed me.
Was the low turn-out disappointing?
It's not about the quantity, but the quality. I got a memorable reception at the ground. There was big excitement in anticipation of making those 15 runs.
An answer to his critics?
I don't have to answer any critics. I don't have to prove anything to anyone. I'm not concerned about what people say or they are writing about. People have opinions on what's going on in my mind, (when) sometimes even I don't know what goes on in my mind.
His favourite knocks
My first hundred in England (1990) was memorable as we managed to keep the series alive. And then I had a good series in Australia, where I scored centuries in Sydney and Perth on two different pitches. That gave me confidence that I could score anywhere.
On how much not winning the World Cup hurts
That is something I would like to have. We were close to it in 2003. It was so close yet so far. I'm not looking that far ahead (till 2011).
What would be a good score here?
I think, around 1,200 should be enough.