India’s spin legends hail Tendulkar’s genius


Kolkata/New Delhi: India’s spin bowling legends Saturday doffed their hats to little master Sachin Tendulkar, crowing over his discipline and work ethic which kept him fresh even after 20 years of international cricket and ahead of other talented players of his era.

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On the eve of Tendulkar completing 20 years in international cricket, off-spinner Srinivas Venkataraghavan, who led India in two World Cups, called Tendulkar the “greatest Indian batsmen of the last 40-45 years”, while former Indian skipper and one of the greatest left arm spinners of the game Bishen Singh Bedi described him as a player who could have “fitted into a team of any era”.

Cunning off-spinner of the 1960s and 1970s Erapalli Prasanna was wonderstruck at the way Tendulkar continues to dominate the bowlers even after playing top-flight cricket for so many years.

But what has made the spin troika unabashed admirers of the master is his approach to the game and dedication.

“For almost the entire length of his career he has been the number one batsman of the world. His discipline, work ethics have made him stand apart from other talented batsmen of his times. He is a colossus,” said Prasanna, who claimed 189 wickets in 49 Tests spread over 16 years.

Bedi said Tendulkar’s longevity is the hallmark of a great player.

“Lasting 20 years in international cricket is an achievement in itself. The kind of fitness level, dedication and determination he has shown in two decades is unmatchable,” said Bedi who led India in 22 Tests and captured 266 wickets in 67 Tests.

To Venkat, Tendulkar is a “captain’s delight, a remarkable talent, with the right kind of temperament and attitude. He would have been successful in any era”.

Recalling the first time he watched Tendulkar while officiating as an umpire in a match between East Zone and West Zone at Pune in 1988, Venkat said: “He scored 88. And seeing the drives he played, I turned to Dilip (Vengsarkar) and said ‘He is Test material, boss’.”

“He compares favourably to, if not better than any of our past greats. And I say this keeping in mind the likes of Sunil Gavaskar and Vijay Hazare. He is the greatest Indian batsman in the last 40-45 years,” said Venkat, who picked up 156 scalps in 57 Test matches between 1965 and 1983.

Bedi said: “We generally use the word great loosely. But Sachin is a genuine great.”