‘It is not going to be easy to fill’ Tendulkar’s shoes, says Rahul Dravid

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“His love for cricket has been consistent from the age of 16 to even now at 40”

Legendary India batsman Rahul Dravid has announced that “it is not going to be easy to fill” Sachin Tendulkar’s shoes when he retires after playing his 200th Test against the West Indies in his hometown of Mumbai next month.

Dravid, who has put together 6,920 runs in terms of partnerships with Tendulkar, has called on the ‘Little Master’ to enjoy his last two Test matches and not let the pressure get to him.

“What he has accomplished is difficult to replicate,” Dravid said. “He has never let his standard come down. His love for cricket has been consistent from the age of 16 to even now at 40. I would like that he does well in his last two Tests and signs off with a good performance. I hope he enjoys both these games. He has worked hard for so many years now, so he deserves a good farewell.

“I just want to wish him all the best and say ‘thank you’ for all that he has done for Indian cricket for the last 24 years. His family is also coming down so both these Tests will be a big event. He has worked hard for so many years now so he deserves a good farewell.”

When asked if he remembered one of Tendulkar’s knocks for any special reason, Dravid said: “Everybody is asking me to pick out one good innings of Sachin but when somebody scores 100 centuries it is difficult to pick just one innings. You can’t pick one innings out of 150 and I won’t want to do that because I want to remember his full career.”

Dravid also admitted that it would be tough for anyone to replicate everything that Tendulkar has accomplished in his illustrious 24-year career.

“I played a lot of cricket with Sachin,” Dravid said. “I have seen him since childhood. He has been with the Indian team for a long time and he is a great cricketer not only in India but what he is accomplished, his statistics, his performance is difficult to replicate.”

The 40-year-old also feels that it is unfair to compare any youngster with Tendulkar.

“There are some good young talented players,” he said. “When you look at what Virat (Kohli) has been able to do in one-day cricket and even in Test cricket, is quite exceptional. I think India’s one-day batting is as good as I have ever seen it. It’s sensational the top six, seven they have at the moment. So just a question of some of these young guys being able to fill in. Look it is not going to be easy to fill those shoes.”

Dravid finished off by saying that he is hoping to be in Mumbai when Tendulkar plays his 200th and final Test.

“I am hoping to,” he said. “I hope to do some media work around the couple of games that are there. I hope to be there. When you are 40 and have played as much as you have, it doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone. It is just reality of sport and life, that kind of age people have been talking for a while now and I am sure he has been thinking about it for a while.”

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