|Sachin Tendulkar is Mr India, a true national hero: Ranatunga|
|Sunday, 18 March 2012 02:50|
KOLKATA: In a career spanning 18 years, Arjuna Ranatunga had spotted and nurtured many precocious talents. He has also seen many gifted young cricketers losing their way in international cricket, but by his own admission, the former Sri Lanka captain has not seen a more complete cricketer than Sachin Tendulkar.
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Sri Lanka's only World Cup winning captain spoke to TOI about what makes the Little Master the toast of the cricketing fraternity. Excerpts:
What were your impressions about Sachin when you first watched him bat?
I first played against Sachin in 1990 in a one-off Test at Mohali, exactly one year after he had made his Test debut in Pakistan. He made just 11, but did look the part. However, by the time we next played India in Sri Lanka in 1993, he had already matured as a batsman and was already a star.
Is he the most talented kid you have seen?
It is not about talent alone. It is what you do with it that counts. I would say that Vinod Kambli was perhaps as talented as Sachin when they started off. It is Sachin's commitment and dedication to the game that has seen him scale unprecedented heights, while Kambli, sadly, lost his way.
What would you say is Sachin's biggest quality?
He has never lost focus and let anything else interfere with his cricket. Every time he goes out to bat, he has looked to improve as a player. In spite of being the game's biggest star, he has never put self before the game itself. In an era when cricket is big business, he continues to put his country before cash. In my book, he is 'Mr India', a true national hero.
As a rival captain did you spot any weaknesses in Sachin's batting and exploited it?
Of course, whenever we spotted one, we would plan our line of attack accordingly. Sometimes we were successful, but Sachin's biggest quality is that he rarely made the same mistake twice. So we would have to start all over again!
Do Sachin's batting figures truly tell the whole story?
Numbers alone never tell the whole story. Let's not forget that Sachin was on top of his game in an era when the pitches the world over were more bowler-friendly and the quality of bowling was really world class. Pakistan had the two 'Ws', South Africa had Allan Donald and Fanie de Villers, the Aussies had Mc-Dermott, McGrath and Warne, the West Indies had Ambrose and Walsh and we had Murali and Vaas. The fact that Sachin dominated all attacks and mastered conditions all over the globe, makes him the champion he is.