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"A double hundred is in the offing"


DUNEDIN, New Zealand

Indian batting genius Sachin Tendulkar says he is close to a double-century and once he gets it there will be more. The 25-year-old was speaking in his first media session since arriving in New Zealand for the three test series. But his remarks came as rain forced the first Test towards being scrapped. Tendulkar has scored 16 Test centuries in 62 matches, but never managed to reach the double century mark. Sachin in new Zealand - Dec 1998

``I've always strived for that, but it has just not happened. I'm just waiting for that particular innings and I know once I get it there should be many more following,'' Tendulkar said. ``In one-day cricket, I couldn't get my first hundred for 68 or 70 games and then in the next 120 games I scored 21, so I'm waiting for the breakthrough.''

Tendulkar is frequently compared with Australian legend Sir Donald Bradman but he does not like the comparison. He was invited to Bradman's 90th birthday earlier this year. ``I've never had that feeling in my life before. It was a thrilling moment and one I will never forget. It was absolutely worth all those hours of flying,`` he said. ``I wouldn't want myself to be compared to anybody. I have not seen many tapes of Sir Don but I feel each and every player has his own style and own way of play.'' Tendulkar played the diplomat when asked about the New Zealand bowling attack, not known these days for being particularly fierce. ``You need just one good ball to get out and anybody can get one good ball,'' he said. ``I've come here with a very certain frame of mind -- to enjoy my batting, score as many runs as possible and not to underestimate anybody.''

In New Zealand Tendulkar, wife Anjali and daughter Sara are getting to enjoy walking around the streets largely unrecognised and unbothered by fans. At home he finds winning matches for India an easier assignment than going for a walk down the street or to a restaurant. Tendulkar said a lack of privacy was a downside of his fame, but feeds off the pressure of carrying the nation's cricket hopes. ``I just think of my game and nothing else. The support and good wishes inspire me, it really motivates me,'' he said. ``It does help when I am on the ground and I know so many people are backing me up so I really appreciate that.'' He described fatherhood as an uplifting experience and said it had brought a better balance to his life. ``It is a very special feeling which I really can't put into words. My life has changed, I can say that.''