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Latif, Yadav wish Sachin

Among the millions wishing Sachin well, who is recuperating after a shoulder operation, are wicket-keepers Rashid Latif of Pakistan and Vijay Yadav of India.

india Updated: Apr 24, 2006 16:45 IST

The batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar turned 33 on Monday and among the millions wishing the cricketer well, who is recuperating after a shoulder operation, are wicket-keepers Rashid Latif of Pakistan and Vijay Yadav of India.

It is not known how and where Tendulkar, who is in home city Mumbai, would celebrate his birthday.

Latif, who watched Tendulkar bat from close behind the wicket in many matches, called him his favourite player.

"Meri achee thee (I had a good rapport with him). Kabhee uss ko tang nahi kiya mein ne during batting (I never teased him while he was batting). He is my favourite player," he said.

Latif, who played 37 Tests and 166 one-day internationals, said that the most outstanding aspect of Tendulkar's personality was that he never got into an argument with his critics.

"He never replied to critics in the media; he only replied with his bat," Latif said.

Yadav became close to Tendulkar during the epoch-making tour of South Africa in 1992 and said they had a lot of fun together.

"Tendulkar is essentially a reserved person. For the first month of the two-and-a-half month tour, our exchanges were limited to pleasantries," recalled Yadav.

"But the ice was broken during one of the functions, and from then on we became close and had a good time together for the rest of the tour. We shared a lot of evenings together along with his room mate Pravin Amre," Yadav said.

Yadav, who is also recuperating following a car accident, said that it needs tremendous motivation to play international cricket for over 16 years, as Sachin has done.

"Tendulkar had that quality, that motivation to go on and on, whereas many others fizzle out after a much shorter career," he said.

"On many occasions, he has proved his critics wrong."

Latif felt that Tendulkar was better off batting in his trademark attacking style, and not the way he is batting these days — cautious and slow.

"He needs to play attacking cricket again because he is struggling when playing defensive cricket. He needs to play his natural game," he said.

"But three-four years of cricket is still left in him. He is still one of the best batsmen in the world. My best wishes are with him."

Tendulkar, who made his international debut on the tour of Pakistan in 1989, has played 132 Tests, scoring 10,568 runs at 55.39 with a world-record 35 centuries.

In 362 one-day internationals he has amassed 14,146 runs at 44.20 with 39 centuries.