I feel really grateful, I feel really blessed. I never imagined I’d get to see this stage in my one-day career. I am really thankful to god. I am very grateful right now. These things do not matter much, but to understand you have come this far in your career, playing for 10 years, is something quite special to me. I love the sport so much and you want to play it more and more, and that for me is the most important thing. I am just happy that I have been able to play for this long and hopefully, for many more years to come. During your initial years in the Indian team, did you feel you could breach the 10k mark?
I never thought that this day would arrive one day. It just tells me that if you’re focused on your process and focused on the right things, then these things become irrelevant after a while because you are only focused on what you need to do on the field. These things are byproducts of that. My duty is to score runs and having done that for a long time now, everything else has collected for this moment. In every situation, the intention should always be to look forward to the team’s needs and score as many runs as possible
It was only some time ago that you scored your 9000th ODI run and in just 11 innings after that, you brought up your 10000th run. Tell us about his quick jump.
Out of the last 11 innings, about eight or nine have been away from home. It’s only to do with the understanding that in South Africa and England we had tough series, so I wanted to take more responsibility and lead from the front if possible and think of the team all the time. I have been able to push my physical and mental abilities by just focusing on what the team needs. In that process, more runs have been scored than may be otherwise if I was thinking about my batting. I just focused on the situation and I am glad that I have been able to help the team by contributing with the bat.
It is again focusing on what the team needs and what a situation demands. All these things look good from the outside as a package, but from the inside as a player, you know you are always focused on your process. The most important thing is pushing hard for the team when you are down and out and pushing for those 10-12 extra overs, so the team can benefit from it.
The moment when you dived full stretch to complete your 150th run said many things about you. It meant that your intensity and commitment levels don’t drop and you are willing to put your body on the line even after batting for over 200 minutes.
It is a great honour to represent my country. Even after 10 years, I don’t feel I am entitled to anything here. You still have to work hard for every run you score at the international level for your country. There are many people who want this very badly. When you are yourself in that position, you should have the same hunger and passion. You should never take things for granted and never take it easy at any stage.
If I have to dive six times in an over, I will do it for the team. That is my duty and that is why I am selected to play for my country and that is a part of my job. It is not about doing anyone a favour or not showing anyone you are committed. It is purely about gaining an extra run for your team. The focus has to be that precise and that much finer at that moment. You have to push for that extra run rather than thinking I am tired or mentally not there. That’s my only intent to do things that my team needs all the time and helping the team in any way possible.