Thatscricket - Special - Sachin - Star speak - 'I would rate Tendulkar higher than the rest'
Published: Tuesday, April 24, 2001, 23:53 [IST]
Copyright AFP 2001Extras:Post your views
New Delhi: Bowlers around the world will not like to be reminded that batsmen mature late as Sachin Tendulkar celebrated his 28th birthday on Tuesday. The Indian champion has already achieved what many only dream of - 6,720 runs in 82 Tests with 25 hundreds, besides a record 10,179 One-day runs with 28 centuries. If he has just begun maturing, bowlers face a bleak future. "I reckon he'll play another eight to 10 years and I would be surprised if he doesn't get more than 40 centuries," Australian batsman Mark Waugh wrote in a daily on Tuesday. Tendulkar does not believe in resting on his laurels. He is as hungry for runs as he was on his Test debut in 1989 against Pakistan at Karachi. Having conquered most peaks, it's his insatiable appetite for runs and the burning desire to improve upon his performances that keeps Tendulkar going. Motivation is not a factor with Tendulkar, though he may have reached a stage where he can compete only with himself. This is because he still plays the game with the verve of a youngster making his debut. For Tendulkar, expectations from millions of fans are not a burden. "The greatest joy of being a cricketer is to know that there are so many people who wish you well. And that's what keeps you going," Tendulkar said in a recent interview. Repetitions may be boring, but no one complains when Tendulkar repeatedly dominates bowlers with a wide range of attacking strokes. Tendulkar bats only to entertain spectators - and dominate as well as demoralise rivals. There's a refreshing dimension of freedom in his batting denied to many of his contemporaries. He makes batting look extremely easy, as if having more shots than one for each delivery. "During the 90s, Brian Lara, Inzamam-ul-Haq and yours truly have often been spoken of as the best in the batting business along with Tendulkar," Waugh wrote."However, I would rate Tendulkar higher than the rest. Lara comes close because he's a proven match-winner, but he does give the opposition chances."Tendulkar is technically superior, has every stroke in the book and some of his own, and above all is remarkably consistent," Waugh said.Tendulkar has rarely let his admirers down, often carrying the entire team on his shoulders for nearly a decade.Most of his big knocks have come in extremely depressing situations. In Benoni, South Africa in 1996, he slammed a 97-ball 104 to help India edge out Zimbabwe on run-rate in the last league match of a triangular series.Tendulkar says the highlight of his one-day career was the 1998 Sharjah tournament. He cracked a superb 143 in the concluding league match against Steve Waugh's Australians to help India qualify for the final.Tendulkar reserved his best for the final, which was played on his 25th birthday, stroking a century to win the match for his team."I don't believe in setting targets. I take things as they come," said Tendulkar, who has often remarked that he never plays for records."The important thing is that my team should win."