Image courtesy of: The Times of India
“As Sir Don Bradman said a great in one era would have been a great in any era”
Legendary India batsman Sunil Gavaskar cited the one and only Sir Donald Bradman in stating that Sachin Tendulkar “would have been successful in any era”.
“As Sir Don Bradman said a great in one era would have been a great in any era,” Gavaskar said. “If you look at the technique that he has got, if you look at the temperament that he has, I think he would have been successful in any era.”
However, Gavaskar refused to compare Tendulkar with Bradman, saying: “You cannot compare two players of different eras. At best you can compare players of the same team. I don’t think it is correct to compare players of two eras. It’s good for an after dinner debate.”
Gavaskar also noted that the trio of Tendulkar Bradman and Sir Garfield Sobers are to cricket what Michael Jordan is to basketball, Pele to football and and Muhammad Ali to boxing.
“There were few men who have embellished sports and made that sport beyond the sport itself,” Gavaskar said. “And I think in that context you would relate football with Pele, basketball with Michael Jordan, boxing with Mohammad Ali and in cricket I would imagine there would be three. One would be Sir Don Bradman, Sir Garfield Sobers and Sachin Tendulkar. They absolutely took the game to a different level.”
The former batsman revealed that he spotted great potential in Tendulkar the first time he saw him play.
“First time I watched him in a match was his debut first-class game against Rest of India and the following Ranji Trophy match for Mumbai at the Wankhede stadium,” Gavaskar recalled. “He certainly showed the potential to go on and make life miserable for the bowlers of the world.”
Gavaskar added that Tendulkar’s “balance”, both on and off the field, was one of the key reasons behind all his success.
“Balance on the field is in terms of cricketing balance,” he said. “And by balance off the field I mean his ability to maintain his level of concentration, his discipline off the field despite achieving so much, despite having so much pressure of expectations.”
Gavaskar also revealed that he was not surprised by Tendulkar’s decision to retire after his 200th Test match.
“Not really because around a certain age people do start thinking of life after the game,” he said. “So it was on the cards.”
The 64-year-old also reminisced about how Tendulkar used to ask him for feedback on his batting.
“The best part about some of the players like Sachin, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman was their ability to analyse the areas they needed to improve upon and then seek help and guidance of a senior player on how to get over the technical difficulties,” Gavaskar said.
When asked if any of Tendulkar’s knocks stood out, Gavaskar said: “The first century which helped India save the Test match. The century he (Tendulkar) got in Perth, it was a memorable one because it wasn’t an easy pitch to bat on but he made it look so simple. Then the 100 he got in Chennai against Australia.”
Gavaskar also believes that Tendulkar is a unique type of player, whose batting style and approach cannot be compared to anyone else.
“I would say Sachin Tendulkar is Sachin Tendulkar,” he said. “Better of to say he is Sachin Tendulkar. To say he is a mixture of some players is not fair to Sachin.”
Gavaskar also revealed that the biggest regrets Tendulkar had were “the times that he scored runs and India lost and the times he didn’t score and India lost”.
“The times that he scored runs and India lost and the times he didn’t score and India lost,” Gavaskar said. “Those are the things he would regret most.”