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I'd predicted Sachin would attain greatness, says Mohsin
Qaiser Mohammad Ali, PTI
New Delhi, May 18, 2005
First Published: 11:33 IST(8/8/2004)
Last Updated: 11:29 IST(18/5/2005)

Mohsin said it was in 1986-87 when he was playing a single wicket tournament at Mumbai's Shivaji Park when he first saw the young Tendulkar in action and was instantly impressed, particularly by his stance.

"A person aged 40-50 years old came to me and said: 'Here's a boy. Please watch him and tell me about him after he has batted'," Mohsin said in an interview.

"The boy, who must be about 12 or 13 years old, scored 10-12 runs. His coach (Ramakant Achrekar) looked disappointed," recalled Mohsin, the 49-year-old dashing cricketer of 1970s and 1980s.

Mohsin, who was in Bombay (as Mumbai was then called) to try his hand in Bolloywood films, said the brief innings was enough to judge the boy's mettle.

But despite the poor score, Tendulkar impressed Mohsin.

"I told the coach, pointing towards the sky, that if anyone could stop the boy from becoming a world class player, it was God, none else," said Mohsin, who retired from Test cricket three years before Tendulkar made his debut in 1989 at Karachi, the Pakistani's home city.

"I was so happy that at the age of 15-16 years Sachin had become a star," said Mohsin about Tendulkar's impressive Test debut series in Pakistan.

Mohsin, who played 48 Tests and 75 One-Day Internationals between 1977 and 1986, disclosed that he had told Achrekar that Tendulkar's stance had particularly impressed him.

"I did not talk to Sachin then, but I said (to myself) 'My God, he's going to be something'," gushed Mohsin.

Added the Pakistani: "In my book, Sachin is the world's number one batsman today. He is my favourite."

Virender Sehwag, especially his record-breaking 309 in the first Test at Multan, impressed Mohsin on India's March-April tour of Pakistan.

"He is a class player, though I would say technically he is not a very correct player. His feet do not move much, but his eyesight and reflexes are so good. The series he played under pressure against Pakistan was outstanding.

"All praise that I may heap on him for that innings is less - I don't have the words," Mohsin said of Sehwag's triple ton.

"I watched that innings on television, and I think if Sehwag treasures that innings in a golden box, it would be better because a cricketer rarely plays an innings like that.

"You can call that his dream innings - that too against Pakistan and in Pakistan. It came on the Multan wicket where the ball was seaming a bit.

"He totally demolished the Pakistan attack, which was said to be very good. Even Sehwag would wish he could play such innings again," said Mohsin, the first Pakistani to score a double century at Lord's, London.

Mohsin, who acted in several Hindi films and married an Indian actresses, said Ganguly's team performed better than Inzamam-ul-Haq's side on the entire tour.

"Whenever we used to play, Pakistan used to morally win the battle 50 percent before it began," he said. "In the recent series, the roles were reversed and it shows in the results. India played better in every department."

India won the one-dayer series 3-2 and the Test series 2-1.

Mohsin was forthright on the match-fixing scandal that hit the game in 2000.

"I have no proof of that, but I would say that there is no smoke without fire - and it just did not concern India, but so many other countries.

"Even if the fire is extinguished, the smoke remains for sometime. I think some wrong people were involved."


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