- 'Pujara has been a silent warrior, terrific temperament, someone who is dedicated, disciplined and focussed.'
- 'Umesh is the type of bowler who gets better the more he bowls, you could see that. The last innings of the season he bowled was possibly the best spell.'
Sachin Tendulkar on the players who made the difference.
Rediff.com's Harish Kotian listens in.
Cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar saluted Umesh Yadav and Cheteshwar Pujara for their brilliant show during India's home season which saw Virat Kohli's side win four consecutive Test series.
India played 13 Tests -- three against New Zealand, five against England, a one-off Test against Bangladesh, four against Australia -- of which they won 10, losing just one and drawing a couple of games.
"The season has been tremendous for our team. There have been challenging moments, and those moments were when I felt our Nos 7, 8 and 9 contributed big time," Tendulkar said.
"Those were critical moments when the match could have gone either way. When any team who has that kind of strength where the bowlers can go out and score those crucial runs, the 'keeper can go out and score a hundred for them, you become a solid side," the cricketer who has scored more Test runs than anyone in cricketing history said.
"Pujara has been a silent warrior, terrific temperament, someone who is dedicated, disciplined and focussed," Tendulkar said.
The Saurashtra right-hander was the backbone of India's batting during the home season, scoring 1,316 runs with four hundreds and eight fifties.
"I have seen him from close quarters and I was impressed with what I saw," Tendulkar said. "I knew this guy is there for a long time."
The app, envisioned by Tendulkar and dedicated to himself, is conceptualised and developed by JetSynthesys.
In what he said is a surprise the cricket icon will be seen singing for the first time in his life. He has hummed a duet with singer Sonu Nigam, which releases on the app on Sunday, April 2.
"Umesh played in 12 Tests. For a fast bowler, it is really taxing," Tendulkar said. "That shows you have got to work on your body and if you are, then you are able to do that."
The Vidharbha pacer, who bowled his heart out on pitches loaded in favour of the spinners, finished with 30 wickets in 12 Tests.
"Umesh is the type of bowler who gets better the more he bowls, you could see that," Tendulkar said.
"The last innings of the season (the second innings of the Dharamsala Test against Australia) he bowled was possibly the best spell," Tendulkar added.
"Somebody who bowls good reverse swing will always be effective in India. Because of the surface, the texture, there will be reverse swing. In Dharamsala, Umesh bowled damn good reverse swing," he pointed out.
Wriddhiman Saha was another important factor. Though the wicket-keeper missed three Tests against England because of injury, in the other 10 games, he scored 441 runs at an average of 44 with two centuries and two fifties.
More important, the Bengal 'keeper was responsible for 26 dismissals.
"Incredible," Tendulkar exclaimed. "These guys played well in crunch moments that can decide the match and sometimes the series. That was the difference."
"You can see both teams going neck-and-neck, and one team starts pulling away. You can see that happen, and that's what happened," Tendulkar added.
Tendulkar, who will turn 44 on April 24, hopes Kohli and his boys will continue their domination for years to come.
"When we have the full strength, it is a good problem to have like whom to leave out and all. That means your bench strength is really strong. That is how the champion teams are," the champion cricketer said.
"I am sure everyone is watching us the way we have played. To maintain and stay at this level is something I am sure everyone is wanting us to do and the rest of us are looking forward once they resume," Tendulkar said.
"I have got a lot of faith and confidence in our team," he said.
Tendulkar was proud to see fellow Mumbaikar Ajinkya Rahane lead India to victory in his first-ever Test as captain, a feat which he also achieved.
When Kohli was declared unfit, Rahane was handed the reins for the series decider in Dharamsala.
"The last Mumbaikar who led India to win in his first Test was myself in Delhi (the one-off Test against Australia in Delhi in 1996)."