Tendulkar wins World Cup at 6th attempt
Sachin Tendulkar could finally shed some ''happy tears''on Saturday, getting his hands on the World Cup trophy after five failed attempts.
The greatest batsman in cricket had one important item missing from his impressive career resume, until India beat Sri Lanka by six wickets on Saturday in the World Cup final in his home town.
There was enormous expectations that Tendulkar would score his 100th international century in the marquee match. He was out for 18, but Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni ushered the home team to victory with an unbeaten 91 - sparking wild celebrations across the nation.
Tendulkar, who was hoisted on his teammates' shoulders and carried around the stadium, admitted he shed some tears of joy.
''They were happy tears, so I don't really mind,'' he said after the victory. ''It is the proudest moment of my career and it is never too late to win the World Cup.''
Batsman Virat Kohli summed up the team's mood in a tribute to the most senior player.
''He has carried the burden of the country for 21 years,'' Kohli said. ''It was high time we carried him around on our shoulders.''
Tendulkar, who turns 38 in three weeks, had not been playing too many one-dayers after scoring the first ever double-century in ODIs.
He scored 200 not out against South Africa at Gwalior in February 2010 and played only two one-dayers before this World Cup but was known to be preparing silently for the tournament.
Tendulkar had hinted that he wanted to have a shot at the World Cup after figuring in teams that made the final in 2003 and semifinal in 1996.
''I still want to achieve something and everyone knows that,'' he said at a function in Mumbai a few weeks before the World Cup. It was followed by statements from captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and several other teammates who said they wanted to win the World Cup for him.
Allrounder Yuvraj Singh said Saturday the whole team had planned to win the World Cup for Tendulkar.
''It was not for my fiancee, not my girlfriend, it was for Sachin that I wanted to win the World Cup,'' he said referring to an earlier statement in which he had indicated he had wanted to win the tournament for someone special.
Tendulkar's life has come full circle since since he was a 'ball boy' during the 1987 World Cup, the first time the tournament was held on the subcontinent.
He was soon recognized as a teenage prodigy and played for the country by 1989, when he was just 16.
He then went on to be the highest scorer in the 1996 and 2003 World Cups.
Mumbai appeared to be taking a Tendulkar ton for granted along with an Indian victory this time.
Fans chanted slogans of 'Sachin-Sachin' along with 'India jeetega' (India will win) as they trooped into the stadium amid tight security, bearing the heat and elaborate frisking by security personnel with smiles on their faces.
''Sachin will score a century to help India win,'' said 19-year-old Mumbai student Rohan Deoskar, reflecting the view of the vast majority of this western Indian metropolis.
An eerie silence descended on the Wankhede Stadium when Tendulkar chased a Lasith Maling delivery outside offstump in a very human mistake and edged the ball to wicketkeeper Kumar Sangakkara.