Sachin Tendulkar, rated as the greatest batsman by legendary leg-spinner Shane Warne in his list of top 50 cricketers, has duly returned the compliment by describing the Australian as "as good a bowler as I faced".
While Warne's rankings were being debated for the lowly rating of former Australia captain Steve Waugh and the absence of Australians in the top three, Tendulkar said he would always treasure this.
"That's special. That's very special. I will absolutely treasure this," Tendulkar told
after reading Warne's list.
"I've been around for 18 years and Shane has played against me all that time. It feels wonderful when someone of his stature appreciates your performances," he said.
Tendulkar said Warne was always a challenge to play, even when he was not taking wickets.
"Every time I played against Shane, he was always extremely challenging and competitive. He was as good a bowler as I faced. But his greatness was that, even when he was not taking wickets, he was still coming at you all the time.
"If he hadn't taken a single wicket throughout the day, I still felt I had to focus as much on the last ball as I had on the first few balls of the day. So I always preferred to be on my toes."
Five Australians made Warne's top 10 in his
column, with Allan Border the highest ranked at number four.
Warne said he rated Tendulkar as his number one cricketer ahead of former West Indian captain Brian Lara because he performed under enormous pressure.
"He and Brian Lara are the two best batsmen of my time. They are hard to separate. If I was chasing 400 in a day then I would probably take Brian because of his flair and placement. Otherwise, Sachin's technique under relentless pressure to perform would give him the edge," Warne said.