Tendulkar's retirement biggest of them all: Gavaskar
Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar has termed Sachin Tendulkar's retirement from international cricket as the "biggest" the game has ever seen, while another former great V V S Laxman feels the Cricket Association of Bengal’s farewell arrangements will not be a "distraction" to the batting icon.
Asked by NDTV if Tendulkar's impending retirement after the two-Test series against the West Indies is the biggest farewell that world cricket has seen, the Gavaskar replied: "I think so. Any retirement is greeted with sadness. After November 18, there will be no Tendulkar in action. So the frenzy is understandable. He is the biggest cricketer after Sir Don Bradman and his retirement is the biggest of them all."
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Gavaskar even took a dig at the media, who, according to him, made endless speculation about Tendulkar's retirement till the cricketer himself made it official.
"I used to tell you guys that you don't know what you will miss once he (Tendulkar) retires."
Laxman said Tendulkar's innings against Haryana in the Ranji opener at Lahli should act as a confidence booster for the legendary batsman as it came under tough conditions.
"He played a match-winning knock in the second innings, but I was more impressed with the amount of time he spent out there in the middle," said Laxman.
Image: Sachin Tendulkar (left) with Sunil Gavaskar
Photographs: Babu AD/CP/Reuters
'Kolkata has always shown love for its cricketers'
Both Gavaskar and Laxman spoke in the same vein about Tendulkar remaining unaffected by CAB's grand farewell arrangements, which many think could be a distraction for him.
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"I don't think, these things (farewell celebrations would be a distraction). The moment he landed, he made it clear that he would like to concentrate. As far as the arrangements goes, Kolkata has always shown love for its cricketers. Sometimes, it can be overwhelming but you don't get this kind of love anywhere in the country," Gavaskar said.
Laxman, on his part said, "Eden Gardens is a special ground. In Kolkata, right from the time you land at the airport till you board a flight back, the love and affection you get is unimaginable. People come up to you and speak about the game."
Image: VVS Laxman (left) with Sachin Tendulkar
Photographs: Will Burgess/Reuters
Rohit is ready to make his Test debut, says Laxman
Another subject on which both Gavaskar and Laxman were of the same opinion was Rohit Sharma being ready to make his Test debut.
"Yes, absolutely. He (Rohit) is ready to make his Test debut. It is great to see his consistency since he has started opening the innings for India in ODIs. Not only is he playing those match-winning knocks, but, also, the aggression that he has shown has been heartening to watch. I think he also wants to play Test matches now," Laxman opined.
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Gavaskar added, "Yes, he is more ready than he could be."
However, the legendary opener felt that the possibility of India going in with five specialist spinners in the Tests against the West Indies is remote.
"I think India will play with six specialist batsmen and four bowlers. India will miss Ravindra Jadeja because of the number of overs he used to send down, but, don't forget, that he is yet to prove himself with the bat. I believe Dhoni has been incredible as a No 7 in Test matches."
The Indian team is going into the Test after being involved in a bilateral ODI series with Australia, but Gavaskar is of the opinion that the "switch-over won't be a problem" for the home team.
"That's the beauty of the modern day game. The good players know how to make adjustments. There is a lot of difference between playing with white ball and red ball, especially the swinging red ball where one needs to reduce one's bat speed. But modern day cricketers are used to it," he said.
Image: Rohit Sharma