Sachin: A talent designed by God himself

Published: Saturday, October 18, 2008, 15:38 [IST]
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New Delhi : Former India opener Sunil Gavaskar on Saturday led a galaxy of cricketing greats in praising record-smashing Sachin Tendulkar, saying his compatriot had always been an extraordinary batsman.

Tendulkar became the leading scorer in Tests on Friday when he shattered retired West Indies captain Brian Lara's record of 11,953 runs during his 88 against Australia in the second Test in Mohali.

Gavaskar, the first batsman to complete 10,000 Test runs, said he was convinced that Tendulkar would achieve greatness when he first saw him bat in the nets two decades ago.

"I stood hidden in the players' enclosure and had my first glimpse of the genius of Sachin Tendulkar," Gavaskar wrote in his Hindustan Times column under the headline "A talent designed by God himself".

"He played a couple of forcing shots to midwicket off the backfoot off (former India paceman) Raju Kulkarni, and that was enough to convince me that he was a special talent.

"There wasn't the slightest of doubt that he was destined to bag all batting records."

The 35-year-old Tendulkar also holds three more world marks -- most runs in one-day internationals (16,361) and highest number of centuries in Tests (39) and one-dayers (42).

"It is hard to imagine any player in the history of the game who combines classical technique with raw aggression like the little champion does," said Gavaskar.

"There is not a single shot he cannot play. The batting records couldn't be in better hands, for here is a player with special talent who has been a role model for a generation."

Former Australian captain Allan Border said he was highly impressed with Tendulkar's ability to adapt himself to different conditions.

Tendulkar scored an unbeaten 148 in the Sydney Test and 114 in Perth against Border's team in 1992.

"I was amazed at his impeccable adjustments in technique and his stunning proficiency off the back foot," Border wrote in the same newspaper.

"He enjoyed playing strokes off the front foot, but his adjustments and supreme control off the back foot at Perth were a treat to watch."

Sri Lankan batsman Sanath Jayasuriya said it was always difficult to find weaknesses in Tendulkar's batting because the Indian was good against both pace and spin on fast and slow pitches.

"In my opinion, Sachin is unquestionably the best player of the modern era," said Jayasuriya, the only Sri Lankan to have completed 10,000 runs in one-day internationals.

"Brian Lara, the man he overtook yesterday, was his closest peer. But while Lara's strokeplay was breathtaking and spoke of genius, Sachin wins over him for his astonishing consistency in a career spanning over 19 years."

India Test captain Anil Kumble said Tendulkar's ability to keep cool in pressure situations separated him from the rest.

"I've watched Sachin have his ups and downs, battle injury and deal with everything with immaculate calm. It's an amazing quality, a blessing," said Kumble, the world's third-highest wicket-taker in Tests with 616 scalps.

"That calm is what has always fascinated me, apart from his game itself and the way he approaches it. The other thing I've admired is the way he takes nothing for granted and prepares meticulously for every situation."

Indian batsman Sourav Ganguly, quitting international cricket after the ongoing series against Australia, was all praise for Tendulkar's technique, saying it was "so simple, yet so solid."

"What has stood up in his success story is his ability to adjust and change his game according to the situation," said Ganguly, who has scored more than 7,000 runs in Tests and 11,363 runs in one-day internationals.

"At times I have seen him do completely different things in the middle of a Test innings and have wondered how he could do it straight in a game without trying it at nets. That's why he is such a great player."

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