|1. The first time I put on my India cap
It was a great moment for me. If I am not mistaken, Chandu Borde, our team manager, handed me my cap. But there was no presentation ceremony like they have today.
2. My first Test hundred
It came at Old Trafford in 1990. Manoj Prabhakar helped me with some determined batting at the other end. I was not at all surprised by what he did that day because I had played with him earlier and I knew that he was a terrific competitor. We prevented England from winning.
3. The counter-attacking 114 at Perth
This ton is a favourite of mine. Australia had four quick bowlers (Craig McDermott, Merv Hughes, Mike Whitney and Paul Reiffel) but I thought McDermott was the most challenging to face in Perth. Throughout the series he was their main bowler.
4. Bowling the last over against SA in the 1993 Hero Cup
South Africa needed six runs to win in the last over. There was no plan for me to bowl that over but I said I was very confident of bowling it successfully. I conceded just three and we won.
5. 82 (off 49 balls) against NZ as opener in 1994
I was the vice-captain then and our regular opener Navjot Singh Sidhu woke up with a stiff neck. I requested Azhar (Mohammad Azharuddin) and Ajit Wadekar (coach) to "just give me one opportunity and I am very confident of playing some big shots. And if I fail, I'll never ever come to you again".
6. Winning the Titan Cup in 1996
South Africa were playing terrific cricket right through the tournament. We adopted a different strategy. As captain I chose to have five fielders on the on side. I told Robin Singh not to bowl seam but cutters into the body and make them score everything on the on side. Maybe that came as a surprise for them.. This was one low-scoring game that I can never forget.
7. 1997 Sahara Cup win over Pakistan
We were without our top three bowlers for this tournament, which I led India in. We were without Javagal Srinath, Venkatesh Prasad and Anil Kumble, but we had Abey Kuruvilla, Harvinder Singh, Debasish Mohanty and Nilesh Kulkarni as newcomers. It was a fantastic effort and we beat Pakistan 4-1. Incredible!
8. Scoring 155 against Australia in the 1998 Chennai Test
I thought getting used to that angle from Shane Warne was important. Before the Test I not only practiced with Laxman Sivaramakrishnan but Nilesh Kulkarni and Sairaj Bahutule in Mumbai too. They gave me a lot of practice. I clearly remember saying to my friends after I scored a double hundred for Mumbai against Australia that Warne has not bowled a single ball round the wicket and I know that he will do it in the Test series.
9. 1998's sandstorm hundred in Sharjah against Australia
The first of the two back-to-back hundreds in Sharjah, 1998. Tendulkar highlighted the similarities between his Sharjah efforts and the two special knocks in the 2008 tri-series finals in Australia in terms of how small a gap there was between the two matches of each of these series, which made it so difficult on the body.
10. Meeting Don Bradman in Adelaide
Without doubt, the most riveting moment in my off-field career. The trip to Adelaide in 1998 with Shane Warne was truly special and to meet him on his 90th birthday made it even more memorable. It was great to spend 45 minutes to an hour talking cricket with him.
11. Beating England at Leeds, 2002
Sanjay Bangar played beautifully for his 68 and he put on a good partnership with Rahul Dravid, who played superbly. I remember going to bat after tea and Andrew Flintoff was bowling a lot of short-pitched stuff round the wicket. I moved pretty well the next day and I remember leaving deliveries off Matthew Hoggard, who bowled a few overs outside the off stump. I paced my innings well (193) and went past Sir Don's tally of 29 Test hundreds.
12. Match-winning 98 against Pakistan in the 2003 World Cup
There was that six off Shoaib (Akhtar) but there were other shots which I felt good about in that match. I was playing with a finger injury and the finger wouldn't straighten. I avoided fielding practice through the tournament because I was experiencing a lot of pain while catching. I gave fielding practice though.
13. First series win in Pakistan, 2003-04
Undoubtedly one of the top series wins in my career. Remember, Pakistan had a good side and we went there and won convincingly.
14. 35th Test hundred, v Sri Lanka in Delhi, 2005
There was this pressure which was building up to go past Sunil Gavaskar in the Test century tally. The room service and housekeeping people in my hotel only spoke about me getting century No 35. I was glad and relieved when it happened because I could then start enjoying the game again.
15. Beating England in Nottingham in 2007
We have always managed to come back well after a defeat or saving a match. This is a classic example. We escaped defeat in the opening Test at Lord's but came back to win in Trent Bridge.
16. Beating Australia in Perth in 2008
We were determined to win this Test after what happened in Sydney. We shouldn't have lost in Sydney considering we were in a good position on the first day, but then the world has seen what happened (referring to the umpiring).
17. The CB Series triumph in Australia in 2008
Not only India, but all other sides found Australia too hard to beat. My hundred in the first final at Sydney was satisfying but the second match in Brisbane was tough. We went to bed at 3 am in Sydney after a day-night game. I just could not sleep and woke up at 8 am to catch a morning flight. I was trying every possible thing to be fresh for the next day's match. The next day we won the toss and batted. It was quite humid so the conditions were tough. We knew that the first half hour was crucial. I thought even if I don't get runs quickly, it's fine because if we don't lose early wickets, the big strokeplayers can always capitalise on the start and that's what happened.
18. Going past Brian Lara's Test run tally in Mohali, 2008
Becoming the highest run-getter in world cricket doesn't happen overnight. Lara is a special player and a guy who is a good friend. We respect each other immensely. To go past his tally meant that I have contributed something to cricket.
19. Second-innings Test hundred against England in Chennai, 2008
Awesome feeling to get that hundred, which I dedicated to the people of Mumbai. It was a very emotional time. It was important to stay there till the end and I remember telling my batting partner, Yuvraj Singh, that it's still not over so don't relax. I recalled that close game against Pakistan in 1999 when we lost by 12 runs.
20. 175 against Australia in Hyderabad, 2009
I know my body well and I know how much I can push so I was not surprised to score a 175 at the age of 36. Even if I had to complete those 20 runs by running them, I was absolutely fine. I was a few runs short of completing 17,000 ODI runs before the match, but that wasn't playing on my mind. However, every now and again it appeared on the scoreboard. That's not important to me. The important thing was to go out and win.
This interview was first published in Sunday Mid-Day