Tendulkar's technique is the best in the world: Lara
Terming Sachin Tendulkar's batting technique as the best in the world, legendary West Indian cricketer Brian Lara said it was a perfect example for a youngster to learn from and excel in the sport.
"If I had a son who wanted to play cricket I wouldn't have told him not to watch my videos but instead ask him to look for Sachin's (videos) as he has the perfect technique against any kind of bowling. It is the best I have ever seen. Perfect for a youngster to learn from," Lara said.
While praising Tendulkar's impeccable longevity, Lara said it would have been hard for the champion batsman to fulfill the huge expectations of his fans during his two-and-a-half decade career.
"His longevity is amazing. He started couple of years ahead of me and ended six years after I retired. These 24 years are testimony to his skills, dedication and fitness level. His zeal while playing for India was simply amazing. I know he has had it tough playing for 1.3 billion people," Lara said at an event 'Salam Sachin', organised by India Today Group in honour of the legendary batsman.
Image: Brian Lara
Photographs: Hitesh Harisinghani/Rediff.com
'He has sacrificed a lot for the nation'
Lara felt that Tendulkar deserved every bit of adulation before his final hurrah at his home ground at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.
"The felicitations for him are much deserved. He has sacrificed a lot for the nation and dedicated his entire life to the game," Lara insisted.
Asked about a perfect timing for a cricketer to retire, the left-handed batsman said: "Retirement is not something you look forward to. It is not planned. In my case when I thought I had nothing more to offer to West Indian cricket I made the decision to leave."
On his favourite moment while competing against Tendulkar, Lara recalled the 1997 Barbados Test when he, as a leader, was successful in executing a strategy to get the Indian outfit.
"India needed just 120 to chase in the fourth innings at Barbados. We had planned to get Tendulkar out while playing behind the wicket -- not presenting the full bat face. We blocked the mid-on and mid-off and forced him to play with a half bat. It took an outswinger from Ian Bishop to induce an edge from Tendulkar and I caught the ball at slips. We folded the Indian batting for just 81 that day," he said.
Image: Sachin Tendulkar
Photographs: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images
'Double century against the Aussies the best innings'
Lara rated Tendulkar's 241 against Australia as the Indian's best innings.
"I have the greatest respect for Sachin's double hundred at Sydney (in 2004). He was struggling in the series and was getting out while playing square of the wicket. But in that knock he curbed his instincts and played with a straight bat. To do that for a such a long time speaks volume about his ability," he said.
On Tendulkar not being able to replicate his batting success as leader of the side, Lara said: "Sometimes being the best player in the team doesn't make you a successful captain. In U-14, club cricket the best player gets the opportunity to captain the side but that is not the case in international sport. It is very hard to get everybody to gel together and perform as a unit. After a loss there would be fingers pointed at you."
Image: Sachin Tendulkar celebrates his double century
Photographs: Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images