KOLKATA: A spell of shower could have turned Sachin Tendulkar's birthday celebrations into a damp squib but the 'Weather Gods' finally relented as the legend didn't forget to mention that "age is never a factor."
"Age should not be a factor. As long as I'm enjoying the game, my body and my mind are going hand in hand together, then it works."
On his own admission, Tendulkar had to use the knife close to 15 times on the day starting from a private function organised by the Mumbai Indians.
"It's embarrassing to keep cutting cakes... 40! I know. May be, I think close to 15 or so," Tendulkar said laughingly after cutting a 40-lb cake specially ordered by the Cricket Association of Bengal.
With his MI teammates cheering in front of their dressing room, Tendulkar sliced through the green-coloured cake, resembling a cricket ground with his signature "ST" bat place in the middle, while the cherry was also placed and the cake was fenced with stumps.
Tendulkar, who has got almost all the batting records to his name apart from Brian Lara's highest Test score, also rubbished talks about imminent retirement saying age should not be a factor.
"I don't think I'm 40!," he joked. "The moment you start looking at your age you start shaping accordingly," he said.
Tendulkar made his debut way back on November 15, 1989 in a team captained by Krishnamachari Srikkanth as he now plays against his son Anirudha (Chennai Super Kings) in IPL.
"It's wonderful now to have Chika's son ( Anirudha Srikkanth) playing against me (in Chennai Super Kings). Cricket is something that allows you to do something like that. Whatever happened to my life is only been because of cricket," he said.
Describing it a learning experience, he added: "It's been a terrific journey. First tour under Chika, was a tremendous tour and a learning experience for me. From there on, I've been part of various tours. The journey has been exciting. It's been a great learning experience."
Asked about his unbridled enthusiasm, Tendulkar said: "I've been always cared about the game. Always believed that how can I best prepare myself before a tour or a game. That's what I've done."
Tendulkar further thanked his billions of fans. "Once again I would like to thank everybody for the love and affection showered on me in the last 23 years. So many people are around. I can't find words to thank them.
"It's their love and affection which has allowed me to do certain things and express my talents in the middle. It's been fantastic to walk out in the middle with millions cheering."