Chappell rates Sachin as the best player

Published: Sunday, August 7, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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New Delhi:The debate over who is the best player of this era might be unending but there is not an iota of confusion in the mind of India's new cricket coach Greg Chappell who gives his vote to Sachin Tendulkar.

For the Australian great, the choice boils down to Brian Lara and Tendulkar and he has specific reasons for favouring the Indian genius over the cavalier Caribbean.

In my view, he (Tendulkar) is one of the very best that has played the game in any era. He is arguably the best to have played in this era because he possesses the widest range of options to each delivery bowled," says the former Aussie skipper.

"Lara is the one most consistently mentioned as one who is better (than Tendulkar). While I have no doubt that at his best there is little to split the two, if I had to choose between them, I would pick Tendulkar for consistency over the journey," Chappell says in a column in the latest edition of The Week.

At the helm of affairs since his appointment as the coach of the Indian team in May, Chappell adulation of the magnitude that Tendulkar has had to bear from the time he pulled on his pads for Mumbai as a 15-year-old."

The support of family, which has helped Sachin Tendulkar keep his feet on the ground, has also been vital as it has helped him survive the demands of being seen as a "god-like" figure in his country.

"The fact that he has been able to maintain such a modest demeanour throughout is perhaps the greatest achievement of a remarkable career," says the coach. But for all the praise, Chappell concedes that of late Tendulkar has found it hard to summon up the genius of yore.

"In recent times, a wife and a young family have taken up some of the mental space and energy that was once the sole preserve of his cricket, which allowed for the single-minded discipline that drove him to perform such incredible feats in both forms of the game... That, plus the frailty of the human body has drained some of his creative flair to the point that, on occasion, he has looked a mere mortal."

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