'I was only 22 and to hear something like that...': Sachin Tendulkar reacts to 'massive statement' made towards him
As Tendulkar demolished bowling attacks, the world stood and took notice. Praises and compliments not only from India, but across the world started pouring in.
The greatness of Sachin Tendulkar and the longevity of his career made him embrace some of the greatest compliments and come face-to-face against the harshest of criticism. From being a child prodigy to the best batsman in the world to becoming a legend like no other, Tendulkar's career has seen it all – heartbreaks, triumphs, injuries, setbacks, success. He has witnessed what no one has in Indian cricket and led a cricket revelation in India – especially in the 1990s. With India breaking all global barriers, Tendulkar was the man to usher the country in that era. Watching him, Indians believed that they too, like Tendulkar, could be the best in the world at what they do.
Tendulkar's stocks in the 1990s rose sharper than the Bombay Stock Exchange. As he demolished bowling attacks, the world stood and took notice. Praises and compliments not only from India, but across the world started pouring in as Sachin climbed the ladder of success and became the world's greatest batter of his generation. India had gotten their successor to the legendary Gavaskar and he wasn't going to stop. In only his second World Cup, Tendulkar recorded 523 runs to emerge as the highest scorer of the tournament.
The following year though, Tendulkar would receive the greatest compliment of his career when the only and only Bradman said he saw shades of himself in Sachin. Tendulkar has been immortalised by some of the most legendary lines spoken about him by his peers, former cricketers, players-turned-commentators, but even after all this time, that one million-dollar statement from Bradman takes the cake.
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"I saw him playing on television and was struck by his technique, so I asked my wife to come look at him. Now I never saw myself play, but I feel that this player is playing much the same as I used to play, and she looked at him on Television and said yes, there is a similarity between the two... his compactness, technique, stroke production... it all seemed to gel," he had famously said.
Today, 26 years later, Tendulkar has opened up on that humongous praise from the Don himself. Recalling Bradman's words, Tendulkar said that for a youngster like him, it was worth its weight in 'gold'; however, refrained from talking about the similarities the Aussie great touched upon.
"That's a tough question to answer. That's a massive statement. I was only 22 then - 22 or 23. And for a 22 - or 23-year-old professional athlete to hear something like that was its worth in gold. It wouldn't be right for me to speak about what the similarities and all that. I would leave it to his family," he said in ABC Australia's documentary 'Bradman and Tendulkar – The untold story of two of cricket's giants.
By 1997, Tendulkar had already established himself as a bonafide star not only in Indian cricket, but across the nation. Sachin had scored over 14 centuries, racked up over 5000 runs in both formats while yet to hit the prime of his career and was made the captain of the Indian team. However, what that compliment did to Tendulkar was spur him further to keep going stronger. And as the next 16 years proved, he did exactly that.
"From my side, I thought the statement came at a time where I felt 'Wow! I need to push myself harder'. I think it's the best tonic one can get. To feel that you are being noticed; your game is being appreciated, it came at the right time," Tendulkar added.