New Delhi, Nov 18: Indian icon Sachin Tendulkar says he is not weighed down by expectations over his 100th century as he headed home to Mumbai for next week's final Test against the West Indies.
As millions of fans wait for him to become the first batsman in history to score a century of international hundreds, the 38-year-old appeared unruffled by the hype around the landmark.
"I feel it is just a number," the most successful batsman in both Test and one-day cricket, said on Friday.
"I am not thinking about it. I am thinking about playing good cricket. I am enjoying my game."
Fans hope he will attain the feat on his home ground at the Wankhede stadium when the Test starts on Tuesday, but Tendulkar said he could not understand what the fuss was all about.
"When I got my 90th international century, nobody said anything," he said. "Even before my 99th century, nobody said anything. So why now? I don't understand.
"I know everyone is talking and thinking about my 100th century. I want to be relaxed and let cricket decide its own course. I am not rushing into anything, just concentrating my normal game."
Tendulkar has now gone four one-day internationals and six Tests without a century since slamming his 99th ton during a World Cup match against South Africa in Nagpur in March.
He came close to the milestone thrice when he scored 85 in the World Cup semifinal against Pakistan, 91 in the Oval Test against England in August and 76 in the first Test of the ongoing series against the West Indies in New Delhi.
Tendulkar said he was more excited about completing 22 years at the top level since his international debut in a Test match against Pakistan in Karachi on November 15, 1989.
"It's a wonderful feeling," he said. "It gives me immense pleasure and terrific satisfaction that I've been able to serve my country for such a long time."
Tendulkar has scored 15,086 runs in 183 Tests with 51 centuries, and 18,111 runs in 453 one-day internationals with 48 hundreds.
If Tendulkar fails to get a century in the final Test or the subsequent one-dayers against the West Indies, his next chance will come in a four-Test series in Australia starting next month.