London, June 26 (ANI): The century hit by master blaster Sachin Tendulkar against England just after the 26/11 Mumbai attacks gave him more satisfaction in comparison to his other tons in all varieties of the game, as it brought back smiles on the faces of terror hit Indians.
Tendulkar was a 14-year-old schoolboy, when Dilip Vengsarkar, then the Indian captain, judged him ready to play first-class cricket and he went on to hit 208 centuries in all forms of the game.
"I think the one against England in Chennai last year," he says, without hesitation when asked about his most important innings played so far for India.
"After what happened in Mumbai (the terrorist attacks), the mood of the entire nation was low. Something was needed to put smiles on people's faces. I am by no means suggesting that the people who lost near and dear ones could forget their terrible loss, but if we as a team were able to make them smile for just a couple of seconds, that was an achievement," The Independent quoted Tendulkar, as saying.
"And thanks to the England cricket team who came back very graciously and played against us. You know, cricket in India brings the entire nation together, from the poorest child to a billionaire. We are in a position to make everyone happy, which is very special for me and the whole cricketing fraternity," he said.
He pointed other innings which he considered important were played during his school days. "I would say that there were a couple in my schooldays that changed my life. In the semi-final of an Under-17s tournament I scored 326 not out, which is when everyone in Mumbai took notice of me. I then scored 346 not out in the final, with Dilip Vengsarkar and Sunil Gavaskar watching."
"I was only 14 at the time, but Vengsarkar wanted me to join the Mumbai first-class team, which contained nine Test players. He had to be sure I was ready. So he invited me to play in the India nets. The Indian team had a camp in Mumbai, and he made Kapil Dev and all these guys bowl at me in the nets. After that session he gave a green signal to the selectors," he told The Independent in an interview.
The master blaster said that in his first domestic season he scored the highest number of runs for the team. "There are three trophies in India, and in all three I scored a century on my debut, so my performances were very good, but also the timing was perfect," he said. (ANI)