Pakistan's famous Test batsman Zaheer Abbas rates Sachin Tendulkar higher than Don Bradman and believes that the Indian master is the greatest batsman of all time.
"People keep calling him the greatest," said Zaheer referring to Bradman, the Aussie legend. "I never saw him (Bradman) bat but I know, somehow, that he couldn't have been better than Tendulkar. This boy has certainly gone a step ahead of the Don," Zaheer told The News in an interview on Sunday.
"Tendulkar is so good and so lucky to be born at just the right time. It's a great combination."
Zaheer believes that Pakistan's erratic batsmen should learn a thing or two from Tendulkar.
"Just look at that guy; I mean he has been playing for 21 years, has scored thousands of runs, dozens of centuries but is still as hungry for more as a debutant. It's such an inspiring sight to see him go out there and still bat like he batted as a teenager. Our batsmen should learn from him," he said.
Many critics fear that Pakistan's batting is a lost cause. They believe there are too many technical faults and temperament-related problems. But Zaheer doesn't buy it.
"It's actually much simpler," he added. "It's about taking responsibility. They have to take responsibility. They have to stay on the wicket. That's the key and if they feel responsible they will learn how to do that. They will stop going for shortcuts."
Zaheer had great expectations from Umar Akmal but is disappointed that the gifted youngster is making little use of his talent. "Each time he goes out there it seems that Umar Akmal wants to break the cricket ball into pieces by hitting it hard. Somebody should tell him that it's not about how hard you hit it but for how long you can keep hitting it. It's really sad that he is not using his talent properly," he said.
Like his compatriots, Zaheer is troubled by the non-stop slump in Pakistan cricket.
"The state of our cricket really bothers me. Nothing is going right for us."
Zaheer wants the country's cricket chiefs to work on improving the existing cricketing structure at home and ties with the ICC and other cricket boards abroad.
"Our cricket board needs to get its act together. It has to work on its PR. You cannot have a board chairman act like a loose cannon," said Zaheer referring to Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ijaz Butt's controversial comments over England players' alleged involvement in match-fixing.