If one has to understand Sachin Tendulkar’s stature, you have to go through the praises he has been getting over the last week.
Some great names have come out and spoken highly about him and I have not heard a negative word which proves what a great ambassador he has been for the game. What he has given to world cricket in a controversy-free career spanning 24 years is amazing.
He is an institution, especially for youngsters, who can learn a lot by watching him play, go about his routine… Right from the time he made his debut, he has kept learning and worshipping the game and has reached a stage where he is on top. I would have loved to see him getting a hundred but unfortunately it ended on 74. It doesn’t matter, though, because it is not about his last game but what he has achieved in his career, which is something very, very special.
As a bowler, I have not noticed many flaws in his game. He was susceptible to the incoming delivery earlier on his innings but if he managed to bat three-four overs then he would bite your hand off.
There has always been a debate on who was better — Sachin or Brian Lara? It is very difficult to differentiate. When you talk about the technical aspects or technique, Sachin stands out but when it comes to attacking the bowler or going after the bowling on a difficult pitch, Lara is up there as well.
Sachin played only 18 Tests against Pakistan and of the four which I played against him there were some keenly contested games but the one knock that stands out is the136 he scored against us in the Chennai Test in 1999. It always stays in mind because it was a difficult pitch yet he was at ease while dealing with the pacers and spinners. We had a good attack with Wasim Akram, myself and Saqlain Mushtaq, who was on song. But he smashed them all over the park.
The 98 in the 2003 World Cup game and 85 in the 2011 World Cup are the other two knocks I feel were his best against us. The Chennai innings, however, was something special.
There has been a lot of talk about what Sachin should do after retirement. I feel he should simply take a break. People should get off his back, let him relax and allow him to think what he wants to do. It is not about us anymore. He should discuss his post-retirement plans with his family and decide on his future course of action.
The writer is a former Pakistan captain and coach