MUMBAI: Sachin Tendulkar, who will turn 39 next month, is in no hurry to retire and the prolific Indian batsman has refused to rule himself out of the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
“Whatever lies ahead is in God’s hands. I can only try. I just want to enjoy the game and I don’t want to set targets,” Tendulkar told reporters on Sunday at a function to celebrate his 100th international century.
Since his 1989 debut against Pakistan, Tendulkar has amassed nearly 34,000 international runs and claimed his 100th century against Bangladesh this month to cement his place as statistically the greatest batsman.
His contemporaries Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid have already quit international cricket but Tendulkar said he was not sure he had played his last World Cup.
“I was asked a similar question in 2007 and I could not say then whether I would play in the 2011 World Cup,” Tendulkar said after cracking a smile.
“Possibly, I am in the same situation now. I don’t know the answer. I just want people to continue with their good wishes and prayers for me. It means a lot to me.”
The master batsman took a swipe at critics who said he should have retired from the one-day format of the game sooner.
“Nobody decided the timing of the start of my career. I will decide when I need to retire,” he said.
“My dream was to play for my country and play to the best of my ability. I feel I should continue while I am passionate about the game.
“The day I realise that my passion is going down or my commitment is going down, I should start thinking about my retirement.
“I feel those who say: ‘You should retire at the top’, are selfish because when you are at the top, you should keep serving the country instead of retiring.”
India won the World Cup at home last April after a gap of 28 years and will defend their title when the next edition is held in New Zealand and Australia in early 2015.
Tendulkar, who has scored more than 15,000 runs in tests and a further 18,000 in ODIs, said the greatest compliment he had received in his career was when Don Bradman included him in his all-time test XI.
“My dream was to be regarded as one of the top players of all time,” he said. “I think I have got myself into that league.
“I don’t play for records and I don’t know if my record will be broken and when. I only hope it is an Indian batsman who does it.”