Chettri three goals away from Bhutia's record

Kathmandu, Aug 28 (IANS) India football captain and lead striker Sunil Chettri is staring at a chance to become the country's highest international goalscorer as the SAFF Championship kicks-off here Sunday.

Chettri is currently at par with I.M. Vijayan on 40 while Bhaichung Bhutia stays at the top with 42.

"The fact of the matter stays that had I thought of it, I would have never reached here. If you do so your target becomes narrow. We have come into the SAFF Championship as a team and we want to do good as a team. Everyone has a specific role in the team. It's not that someone who scores is superior to the other," said Chettri.

For Chettri, goals are just numbers.

"Absolutely! Unless goals win you matches they don't matter at all. And as long as the Team wins it simply doesn't matter as to who has scored them," he said.

Chettri said it is a different feeling since he has high regards for both Vijayan and Bhutia.

"I wasn't that fortunate enough to play alongside I.M. Vijayan. But I have been fortunate enough to have watched many of his matches and he is undoubtedly one of the most gifted players India has ever had.

"But at the same time I have been fortunate enough to have played alongside Bhaichung-bhai and I owe a lot to him. He has been a great mentor to me with his teachings both on and off the field. He has helped me a lot to evolve both as a player," he said.

Chettri, however, has a better strike rate than both Vijayan and Bhutia.

Vijayan has 40 goals from 79 matches while Bhaichung's 42 goals came from 107 matches. Chettri is on 40 from 74 matches.

"I was lucky enough to have played a part in a team where I was used to get a lot of balls. Not every striker gets a supply line boasting of Climax Lawrence, Renedy Singh, Steven Dias, Anthony Pereira to name a few. Their sole motive was just to feed me and they fed me with great balls. It's not everyday that that you get to play with such a team. It was all teamwork - they looked forward for me to score and helped me at every step," he said.

India's top-five goalscorers:

Bhaichung Bhutia: 42 goals from 107 matches

I.M. Vijayan: 40 goals from 79 matches

Sunil Chhetri: 40 goals from 73 matches

Shabbir Ali: 23 goals from 72 matches

P.K. Banerjee: 19 goals from 36 matches

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Royal test for Kings

Royal test for Kings

Preview — Clash of philosophies between Australia-centric teams More »

Have nothing to prove to anybody — Sehwag

Have nothing to prove to anybody — Sehwag

The Nawab of Najafgarh says a good run in IPL could help his chances of a comeback on India's tour to England in June. More »

Duminy steals first win for Delhi

Duminy steals first win for Delhi

Furious fifties by Duminy and Dinesh Karthik end a long losing streak for the Daredevils. More »

Five things England must do to bounce back

Five things England must do to bounce back

England have appointed a new head coach in Peter Moores. More »

AB, Parthiv seal Bangalore's second win

AB, Parthiv seal Bangalore's second win

Royal Challengers overcame a stutter to cruise to the small target they were set by Mumbai Indians. More »

‘Felt like helpless minority’

‘Felt like helpless minority’

Former BCCI treasurer Ajay Shirke says emotions got the better of the Srinivasan and he tried to oversimplify things by calling Meiyappan an “enthusia… More »

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

Kevin Pietersen's hopes of reviving his international career appeared to end Saturday when ECB managing director Paul Downton said there was 'no way back'… More »

The world record that nearly wasn't

The world record that nearly wasn't

Twenty years ago this week, Brian Lara became Test cricket's highest scorer, but he almost didn't make it. More »

Srinivasan can attend BCCI meeting

Srinivasan can attend BCCI meeting

His status as president of TNCA makes him eligible to attend the Working Committee meeting on Sunday. More »

Moores gets second stint as coach

Moores gets second stint as coach

In a two-year spell from 2007 to 2009, the 51-year-old Moores led England in seven Test series. More »

Bangladesh senior players to see shrink

Bangladesh senior players to see shrink

Bangladesh's senior players will have three sessions with a psychological skill development coach later this month More »

Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Glenn Maxwell seems to project an icy disdain when at the crease. Match situations rarely faze him and the bubble in which he plays excludes everyone … More »

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

Dalmiya feels that Srinivasan’s ‘power hungry’ attitude isn’t helping matters. More »

Tough for bowlers: Saeed Ajmal

Tough for bowlers: Saeed Ajmal

The 36-year-old believes the T20 format and rule changes in 50-over matches have made a real difference. More »

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

Kevin Pietersen has ridiculed the idea of day-night Test cricket, saying the game would be so different to proper Test cricket that we will need a whole… More »

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

The bowlers restricted Hyderabad to 133 for 6 before Rahane and Binny took Rajasthan over the line. More »

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

The Kings XI batsman blasted a 43-ball 95 to help his team pull off a massive chase against Chennai Super Kings. More »

BCCI members want independent probe

BCCI members want independent probe

The board members are realising after the Supreme Court's observations that something has to be done — IS Bindra More »

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

Two former BCCI presidents, Shashank Manohar and Jagmohan Dalmiya, have reacted strongly to the news of the BCCI calling an emergent meeting on Sunday… More »

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Preview — The threat of Sunil Narine looms large again. More »

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Preview — Given the firepower in both line-ups, Dubai crowd may see another high-scorer More »

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj Singh was hardly convincing to begin with against Delhi, but a big dose of crowd support and a helping of poor bowling meant he had the opportunity… More »

Stressed Trott stands down again

Stressed Trott stands down again

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Friday confirmed that batsman Jonathan Trott is to take another break from all cricket with immediate eff… More »

PCB starts another coach hunt

PCB starts another coach hunt

The PCB has decided to not extend the contracts of head coach Moin Khan, fielding coach Shoaib Mohammad and batting consultant Zaheer Abbas, and has invited… More »