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'From 99th to 100th hundred was a mega journey '

Last updated on: March 30, 2012 14:45 IST

'From 99th to 100th hundred was a mega journey '

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"Sachin Tendulkar is the reason I started playing," said Virat Kohli, India's most promising batting talent at the moment, as he paid tribute to the batting ace on completing a century of international hundreds. 

Asked for his thoughts on the 39-year-old who completed the incredible feat against Bangladesh during the recent Asia Cup in Bangladesh, the 23-year-old Delhi right-hander, who is in the form of his life having scored three hundreds in his last four one-dayers, said as a child he only dreamed of catching a glimpse of Tendulkar in person. 

"He is the reason why I have started playing cricket. Like me, I think most of the youngsters in the India started playing cricket because of him," said Kohli, at a felicitation function organised by industrialist and IPL team Mumbai Indians' owner Mukesh Ambani. 

"Now it is just a great honour to share the same dressing room with him. I remember, when I was small, my only dream was to see him in real life and to play with him now is just a great honour for me. I couldn't have asked for anything more," he added.


Image: Virat Kohli and Sachin Tendulkar
Photographs: Brandon Malone/Reuters

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'Seedhe seedhe bolo record nahi tod payega'

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Tendulkar, who was present at the function, was quick to say Kohli could be the one who could better the 100 centuries record.

He goaded by into making the prediction by actor Salman Khan, who asked who he feel can break the record.

"Kya lagta hai aapko? seedhe seedhe bolo nahi tod payega (what do you think of this, ok, say that no one can do it)," the Bollywood star asked.

Unable to control his laughter, Tendulkar rose from his front-row seat and shot back: "I think those who can are sitting in this room only."

"Chance hi nahi [no chance]," retorted Salman.

"I can see those youngsters. Virat and Rohit (Sharma) are the ones. As long as an Indian breaks it, I don't mind," said Tendulkar, drawing a round of applause from the celebrity guests.

Salman, while referring to Tendulkar's feat said, "I hope, this record is broken very soon because records are meant to be broken.., Sachin yaar, how does it feel to be praised all the time? Don't you feel that 'ok, I know all this, that's enough'."


Image: Sachin Tendulkar
Photographs: Andrew Biraj/Reuters

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Bollywood stars shower praises on Sachin

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The remark left Tendulkar and everyone around him in splits. 

The actor didn't stop at that and much to everyone's amusement said, "How about 200 buddy, how's that? 100 are already there, another 100, how much time does it take?"

Then came the googly that had the entire gathering in laughs, "It's been heard that it's impossible to break Sachin's record and it's not Don, it's me who is saying this. I can say this because my father wrote this film. Amitji (Amitabh Bachchan) acted in it."

Addressed as 'Sachin Sir' by the evening's emcee, actress Priyanka Chopra, Tendulkar, flanked by Mukesh and Nita Ambani, mostly sat laughing as witty tributes came his way from Bollywood's leading stars. The 'Master Blaster' was showered with praise by the who's who of the Indian film industry, former and current cricketers besides politicians.

Salman closed the issue on who would accomplish Tendulkar's feat with a twinkle in his eye and cheeky grin. 

"You are lucky that I spent my time at studios, otherwise I would have been the one sitting at your place, making this speech and scoring those hundreds also," he said.


Image: Sachin Tendulkar
Photographs: Hitesh Harisinghani

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'From 99th to 100th hundred was a mega journey'

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Later, when Tendulkar was called up to the stage to accept mementos from guests like Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, the batsman took a dig at Ms Chopra for addressing him as 'sir'. 

"I don't know what to say when you call me Sachin sir. I just changed my hairstyle thinking that I would look young but it doesn't work," he said, leaving the actress in splits. 

For the umpteenth time, Tendulkar spoke of the one-year wait he endured for going from 99th to 100th ton. 

"From 99th to 100th hundred was a mega journey for me and for all of you, sorry about that, it wasn't in my control," he said.


Image: Sachin Tendulkar
Photographs: Andrew Biraj/Reuters

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