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Sachin is the 'greatest' of my era, says Muralitharan

November 17, 2013 15:21 IST

Sachin is the 'greatest' of my era, says Muralitharan

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Legendary Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan paid rich tributes to iconic Sachin Tendulkar and termed the Indian batting legend as the "greatest cricketer" of his generation who played the game like a "true gentleman" for 24 years.

He added, "His wicket was always the most important for us." Muralitharan, with whom Tendulkar has fought many a stirring battles, said the sheer hard work and dedication Tendulkar put in over the years made him a "legend", who played the sport with great enthusiasm, passion and dignity.

The 41-year-old off-spinner, who took a staggering 800 Test wickets and over 500 One-day scalps in his 20-year-long international career, said while Sir Don Bradman is the greatest when it comes to averages, but for the number of runs and for longevity, Tendulkar would go down as the greatest of his era.

"Sachin is the greatest cricketer of my time. He is the modern-day great. His passion, dedication, hard work before every game, and his love for cricket stood out for me and that makes him the greatest player I have ever seen since I started playing in 1992," Muralitharan said.

"I have not seen others. I have not seen Don Bradman bat. If you look at the average, Bradman is the greatest but if you look at Sachin's stats, the sheer amount of runs he has scored, his longevity...it makes him the greatest cricketer of my time. Nobody played for such a long like him. I have no doubt while stating that he is the greatest.

"His love for the game, his attitude, putting in a lot of hard work before every game, practicing hours and hours to prepare for the match, that's how he became a great player. Sachin is just amazing and remained the same person I met him 24 years back," said Muralitharan.


Image: India's Sachin Tendulkar (right) and Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralitharan interact
Photographs: Arko Datta/Reuters

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A teary-eyed Tendulkar brought the curtains down on his illustrious 24-year-old career at his home ground, Wankhede Stadium, after India crushed a hapless West Indies by an innings and 126 runs in his farewell match to complete a 2-0 series whitewash. PTI SHN PM

Tendulkar, regarded as the greatest batsman in contemporary cricket, bows out as the most successful batsman in international cricket with 15,921 runs in 200 Tests. In his ODI career, which he needed last year, he amassed 18,426 runs in 463 matches.

The Mumbaikar is the only batsman in international cricket to score 100 centuries. He was the first batsman to get a double hundred in one-dayers.


Image: Sachin Tendulkar of India bids farewell at the end of his career on day three
Photographs: BCCI

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Sachin is the 'greatest' of my era, says Muralitharan

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Muralitharan, who had his first encounter with Tendulkar during a one-day series in 1993, said Tendulkar "inspired" him in many ways.

"He has inspired me with his passion and dedication towards the game. His contribution will always be remembered. He played like a true gentleman. He conducted himself in a dignified manner. Playing for 24 years, it just talks about his greatness...a gentleman of the game. He always came across as a humble and quiet person. He was just outstanding."


Image: Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralitharan (left) congratulates India's Sachin Tendulkar
Photographs: Kamal Kishore/Reuters

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Sachin is the 'greatest' of my era, says Muralitharan

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Muralitharan said the champion batsman was the best in all conditions against all types of bowling and that his opponents always had a "special strategy" for him.

"It was always difficult to contain him. It was always difficult to get him out. His wicket was always the most important for us. We always had special strategy for his wicket.

"We will discuss how to get him out in our team meetings. We always gave more importance to his wicket than anybody else. He was always the key opposition player for us," recalled Muralitharan.

Wishing Tendulkar all the best for his post-retirement life, Muralitharan said the Indian should enrich the game with his knowledge and experience.

"I wish him a very happy life. All the very best for his future. I would like to see him in the role of a mentor, helping the young players with his rich experience and knowledge of the game.

"He has a done a lot for the game and it's amazing to see how he conducted himself in these years. Keep on contributing to the world cricket. This game needs your guidance and I would like to wish him happy retirement life," he said.


Image: Sachin Tendulkar (right) of India shakes hands with Muttiah Muralitharan
Photographs: Michael Steele/Getty Images

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Muralitharan, though, felt it was unlikely that Tendulkar would take up a coaching assignment.

"As far as I know him, it won't suit him. The coaching job is difficult and I don't think he would be comfortable with the job. It won't suit him that's my personal opinion. He can, at the best, mentor the Indian team. He has so much to give to the Indian cricket."

Muralitharan, too, has fond memories of the man that go beyond the boundary.

"I started playing cricket in 1991 and first played against him in 1993. There are many favourite memories against him and it's very difficult to pick one. All have remained my favourites.

"There are many off-field memories also. Whenever we meet, gone for dinners, we always chatted about cricket, about each other's game. We shared our thoughts and respected each other's views. We have enormous respect for each other," he said.


Image: Sachin Tendulkar with his wife Anjali and kids Sara and Arjun
Photographs: CCI

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