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'Tendulkar was a mix of Richards and Gavaskar'

October 31, 2013 10:35 IST

'Tendulkar was a mix of Richards and Gavaskar'

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Sachin Tendulkar’s 24 glorious years in international cricket witnessed many bowlers bear the brunt of his bat.

Ask any of them and they will say that the batting icon’s wicket is worth more than even a five-wicket haul. His former teammate Maninder Singh also feels the same.

Ahead of the batting maestro’s 200th and final Test, the former left-arm spinner spoke with Manu Shankar.

During the conversation he recalled Tendulkar’s ‘Sandstorm’ innings, the day he advised Tendulkar to take up leg-spin and what makes him so special.

 

I met Sachin Tendulkar during his first season in Ranji Trophy for Mumbai in 1988.

He was a new kid on the block and I was bowling to him in the game. I remember telling my coach, Gurucharan Singh, at the time, ‘this name, Sachin Tendulkar, you are going to hear it for a long, long time’. I told our coach, ‘yeh lambi race ka ghoda hai’.


Image: Sachin Tendulkar
Photographs: Adnan Abidi/Reuters

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Tendulkar idolized Richards

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He was such a class act at that age as well. The eye for detail at that age was amazing and it’s no surprise that he has virtually all the records in his name. He was an aggressive batsman even at that tender age. He was fearless and more attacking than now.

It wouldn’t be wrong to say that Tendulkar was a mix of Viv Richards and Sunil Gavaskar. He idolized Richards; hence, his attacking instincts. Gavaskar was someone he would look up to, as he was epitome of batting at that time.

The best example of this is the ‘Sandstorm’ innings that he played against the Aussies in Sharjah. Only Tendulkar could have pulled off something of like that.

The way he demolished the Australian bowling line-up was amazing. It was sweeter, not only because it was a back-to-back ton, but the century set up India’s victory.

Then, the century in Perth and double ton in Sydney. Well, I could go on and on about his best knocks and it would never end.


Image: Sachin Tendulkar
Photographs: Babu AD/Reuters

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'The way he handled himself on Pak tour was amazing'

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A tour to Pakistan is never easy. They had one of the best bowling line-ups in the world, with the likes of Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, who too was making his debut, Imran Khan and Abdul Qadir.

But the way he handled himself on the tour was amazing. Like any youngster he was nervous ahead of the game, but, I think, the boundary he hit to get off the mark was something special.

This one incident that comes to mind: He was bowling leg spin in the nets -- and pretty decent ones too -- and I told him, ‘maybe you could get into the team as bowler, in case your batting doesn’t click!’.

Now, when I look back, I just laugh at myself for saying such a thing.


Image: Sachin Tendulkar
Photographs: Ben Radford/Allsport

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Tendulkar gave hope to millions to take up the game

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Tendulkar was a handy bowler too in both versions of the game. That’s why he has 45 wickets from 198 Test matches, while in ODI’s he has 154 from 463 matches, with two five-wicket hauls.

This is the ideal time for him to retire and go out on a high. When you retire a bell rings inside; that is what has happened with Sachin too.

No matter how much we say about him, it’s not enough. He gave hope to millions to take up the game.

The youngsters of today grew up watching him, like we did watching Sunil Gavaskar bat.

It’s a great achievement; the longevity is remarkable. It will take someone as special as him to come close to his record.  


Image: Suresh Raina and Sachin Tendulkar
Photographs: Punit Paranjpe/Reuters

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