Sachin Tendulkar ended a year-long wait for his 100th international century and admitted the constant media speculation about when he would achieve the milestone had been "mentally tough" to deal with.
The Little Master, who began his international career in a Test match against Pakistan in November 1989 and who has amassed over 35,000 international runs, achieved the magical feat with a clipped single to square leg off Shakib Al Hasan in the 44th over of India's Asia Cup contest against Bangladesh in Mirpur.
Tendulkar said the relentless talk about his 100th hundred had been draining, and hoped his achievement would encourage others to "chase their dreams".
"I was not thinking about the milestone, the media started all this. Wherever I went - the restaurant, room service - everyone was talking about the 100th hundred," he told television commentator Ramiz Raja in quotes reported by www.espncricinfo.com.
"Nobody talked about my 99 hundreds. It became mentally tough for me because nobody talked about my 99 hundreds. I started off the season batting reasonably well. I was luckless. I am not playing only for my hundredth hundred. It doesn't matter how many 100s you score, you still put your head down, grind it out and do the job for the team."
Asked if he had a message for his fans, Tendulkar added: "Enjoy the game and chase your dreams. Dreams do come true. I had to wait for 22 years for India to win the World Cup."
N Srinivasan, the president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), described Tendulkar as a "colossus".
"Ever since he made his international debut in November 1989, Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar has strode cricketing arenas the world over, like a colossus," Srinivasan told www.bcci.tv.
"He has broken old records and set new benchmarks. He has been an inspiration to billions, and an ornament to the sport. March 16, 2012 will never be forgotten by cricket-lovers.
"On behalf of the BCCI, I would like to congratulate Sachin Tendulkar for completing a century of international centuries."