Hunger for runs drives 37-year-old Tendulkar on

He made his test debut as a 16-year-old in 1989, so Sachin

Tendulkar has 21 years in international cricket to reflect on. This

year has been one of his best.

Tendulkar, now 37, capped 2010 with an unprecedented 50th career

test century for India on day four of the first test against South

Africa on Sunday. He now has 11 more centuries and over 2,000 more

runs than his nearest rival.

With a record 175 tests and more than two decades at the crease,

he should be slowing down or winding up. Not the little master.

Tendulkar began this year by making 200 in a one-day

international – also against South Africa – the only time a batsman

has achieved the feat.

He became the first man to 13,000 and then 14,000 test runs. He

already has over 3,000 more ODI runs than anyone else.

In 2010, he passed Steve Waugh’s 168 test appearances to become

the most capped player ever. And he won the International Cricket

Council’s player of the year award. Now he’s scored test century

No. 50.

The appetite for runs – and success – hasn’t been sated.

”Every innings I want to go out and score runs,” Tendulkar

said after Sunday’s century. ”There has never been a match when

I’ve said, ‘If I get out early, it’s OK.’ I’ve never thought like

that. So it’s extremely important to have that hunger and it’s the

hunger that keeps one going.

”I’m glad that it’s still there.”

So is India.

Tendulkar has been a key part of its recent rise to the top of

the test rankings. He is the world’s most worshipped cricketer, the

biggest sporting star in India, and the game’s most successful

batsman.

His post-match news conference on Sunday was carried live on TV

back in India. Indian reporters said the 50th hundred was what the

entire nation was waiting for, what all Indians were hoping

for.

They weren’t exaggerating.

Tendulkar has carried the expectations of a country of cricket

fans for the best part of two decades. It hasn’t appeared to affect

his run-making – and certainly didn’t in 2010.

In tests, he has powered to seven centuries this year, two of

them double hundreds, for the second-highest return in a calendar

year after Pakistan batsman Mohammad Yousuf’s nine 100s in 2006.

Tendulkar still has one test to play this year.

”I’ve just been batting, and enjoying my batting,” he said.

”Sometimes you are striking the ball really well and that is the

time you need to cash in as much as possible. I’ve tried to do

that.

”Every time I go out, the country needs me … it’s never, ‘If

I don’t score it doesn’t matter.”’