Rated the greatest batsman ever by legendary all-rounder Richard Hadlee, Sachin Tendulkar said the accolade was a pleasant surprise for him, coming from a player of such unquestionable credentials.
Hadlee recently rated Tendulkar even higher than Don Bradman, considering the Indian's staggering success in both the long and short formats of the game.
Tendulkar said it was a rare honour, especially coming from Hadlee, one of the greatest all-rounders to have played the game ever.
"Nobody has ever said like that before. I am happy and satisfied," an elated Tendulkar said.
"This comes as a pleasant surprise and it comes from a personality whose credentials cannot be questioned. I am happy that I played with him on my first tour to New Zealand in 1989," the Indian told www.Espnstar.Com.
Hadlee had earlier pointed to Tendulkar's mind-boggling achievements while rating him the greatest batsman ever.
"Sir Donald Bradman has been regarded as the greatest player ever. He played just Test cricket. He hasn't played any other forms of the game. Clearly that is understandable.
"But to see Sachin and other players actually adjust to different forms of the game and different conditions all around the world, even though the average is fractionally more than half of the Don's is in itself incredible. You got to respect it," Hadlee had said.
"Taking catches has sort of given me probably as much pleasure as scoring runs. It is being part of someone else's success as a catcher. That has been a thrilling experience for me. To have taken so many catches is also a reflection of the quality of attack that I have been lucky to have played with in my 12-13 year career," Dravid had said when he had drawn abreast with Mark Waugh in the first Test at Hamilton.
"I have been lucky to have played with some very good bowlers who have created the opportunities to take catches. I have taken a number a catches of the bowling of (Prasad), Zaheer, Anil (Kumble) and Harbhajan (Singh)."
Looking back, Dravid said it was difficult to pick the best catch.
"It is a hard call. You look at these catches and you think of them in terms of the context of the game and how they helped the team win. I took Damien Martyn in the Adelaide Test off Sachin's bowling and we went on to win the Test match. It was a critical phase.
"Another one I can remember is that of Mark Waugh at backward short-leg in the Chennai Test of that great series in 2001 off Harbhajan's bowling. These two are the ones that probably stand out in my memory," he said.