Sat, Sep 19, 2009 - Page 20 News List

Tendulkar wants India to be No. 1 on anniversary


Sachin Tendulkar is hoping he can mark his 20 years in international cricket by leading India to become the world’s top ranked one-day team.

The premier batsman made his India debut as a 16-year-old against Pakistan in November 1989, setting many batting records, including Test and one-day aggregates and hundreds since.

India enter the ICC Champions Trophy in South Africa starting next week as strong contenders after staying unbeaten in one-day series over the past year.

They are third in the ODI rankings, just one rating point behind world champions Australia and South Africa going into the premier eight-team event starting on Tuesday.

“We definitely have the ability, the spirit, the desire, the hunger to get there [No. 1 ranking],” the 36-year-old former skipper told the CNN-IBN channel yesterday.

“Playing cricket for India means the world to me. I grew up dreaming about playing cricket for India. I am living my dream,” he said.

Tendulkar underlined his continued desire to excel, scoring his 44th one-day hundred last week to set up a tri-series final win over hosts Sri Lanka in Colombo.

“It is going to be a challenging season, a lot of cricket,” he said. “I wish we had more Test cricket, we only have three Test matches this season.”

India’s best performance in the Champions Trophy was finishing as joint winners in 2002 alongside hosts Sri Lanka

“We have to see to it that we live up to the expectations of the entire nation and get to where we as a team have targeted,” he said. “We want to be there at the top, just go out and give our best.”

“We’ve been working towards it,” he said. “If you look at our performances in the last couple of years, it has been terrific”.

“A couple of hiccups here and there are always going to be there,” he said. “It is never going to be a smooth journey. That is what keeps us together.”

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