'Sachin next only to Bradman, Ganguly tough'

Published: Friday, April 9, 2004, 21:09 [IST]
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Mumbai:Former South Africa's cricket captain and managing director of United Cricket Board of South Africa (UCBSA), Ali Bacher on Friday said he has great respect for Indian batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar and skipper Sourav Ganguly.

Bacher, who is in Mumbai to launch his new book 'Ali - The Life of Ali Bacher' said that he admired Sachin's batting. "According to me he is the second best batsman of all time (first being late Sir Donald Bradman) while Ganguly is a very tough captain though my favourite all time captain isSteve Waugh of Australia."

"I met Sachin in 1991 and the last I met him was during the 2003 World Cup in South Africa. He (Sachin) has not changed one bit. He is respectful and very humble as he was 13 years ago as a young member of the Indian team," Bacher added.

"Sourav Ganguly has helped build the present Indian team. He is mentally tough and has installed that toughness among his team members. Indian cricket is bound to get stronger and stronger in the near future", Bacher said.

Praising Indian team's performance Down Under, he said: "I watched a lot of Indian cricket in Australia. They were terrific especially in the Test matches and I think the Indian batting line-up is the best of all time as their top six to seven batsmen are brilliant."

Praising the Indian and Pakistani Governments and cricket Boards for the on-going series in Pakistan, Bacher said both the teams were playing great cricket. "I think both the Governments and the Boards have to be commended for not only starting the series but also making it a big success."

Praising Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president, JagmohanDalmiya, for making BCCI one of the richest Boards in the world, Bacher said, "India's economic boom among the cricket playing nations is commendable and Dalmiya is responsible for bringing in cash to the tune of 200 million dollars".

"At the same time I have never known anyone who did not know the meaning of the word "no" for an answer and is power mad," he added.

Speaking about last year's World Cup, Bacher said, "it was a huge event and with so many organisations involved to run the show, including the Government of South Africa, International Cricket Council (ICC), UCBSA there were many minor issues which were settled amicably".

Bacher also commended ICC penalising teams for refusing to go to Zimbabwe during the World Cup.

"I think the ICC was quite right about the moral issue as the South African police had assured all the participating teams security and safety during their stay in Zimbabwe and as it turned out, the teams who played in Harare vouched that it was the safest place in the world," he said.

Speaking about the South African team under its new captain Graeme Smith, the former captain said, "the unification of South African cricket has been remarkable and I think Smith is an outstanding captain at the age of 22".

"Back home there was huge criticism initially when Smith was named the captain. I didn't even know that both of us were from the same school when I first met him, However, he impressed me very much when he spoke about the integrity of the game and his passion was unbelievable," he added.

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