I have never liked comparisons between great players, but after Wednesday's incredible game it must be said — Sachin Tendulkaris the greatest batsman of all time.
Better than Brian Lara and Ricky Ponting, the other two great players of my era. Better than Sir Viv Richards, Sunil Gavaskar and Allan Border. And I would even say better than Sir Don Bradman himself.
Now he has the first double hundred in a one-day international — hitting 25 fours and three sixes as India beat South Africa by 153 runs — he has swung it for me.
Little master: Record-breaker Tendulkar celebrates reaching his landmark
SACHIN BY NUMBERS
46 One-day international hundreds
47 Test hundreds
166 Test matches played
240 Sixes in all international cricket
442 One-day internationals
13,447 Test runs scored
17,598 one-day international runs
45.12 One-day international batting average
55.56 Test batting average
I played against Tendulkar on my first England tour, the Nehru Cup in India in 1989, and I could still see that excited boy in big pads in Gwalior.
That extraordinary drive and enthusiasm are what make Tendulkar so special. He has beenplaying international cricket for 20 years under the intense scrutiny being an Indian superstar brings, so it is remarkable he still loves holding abat as much as ever.
Halfway through the Indian innings on Wednesday, Tendulkarwas already on more than a hundred. It's almost a given that he will reach three figures. But even he had not turned it into a double in a 50-over international before, and this was not against a lowly side but South Africa, one of the most formidable bowling attacks in the world.
There was no slogging — just pure, attacking strokeplay.
Tendulkar has gone back to being the fluent, almost flamboyant, batsman he used to be. In recent years his innings had become a bit mechanical, butI think he has remembered what made him great.
I interviewed Sachin for Sportsmail when he was touring England a couple of years ago — one of the highlights of my career since I stopped playing, and it was noticeable that he is not driven by money.
Better than the rest: Tendulkar is better than Lara (left) and Bradman
He has become a very wealthy man, but that has been as a resultof doing what he does best and enjoying it. It has not been the beall and end all for him.
What else is left for Tendulkar now? Well, it is sometimes said that he has not played enough match-winning innings on the really big occasion for India.
What better, then, than to score ahundred in the World Cup final against Australia — or maybe even England — on home soil this time next year.
That would be the full stop that would enable Tendulkar to ride off into the sunset with everything achieved in his career.
My admiration for him is total. To steal the nickname of a certain football coach who led Inter Milanagainst Chelsea on Wednesday, Sachin Tendulkar truly is The Special One.
*. Sensational Sachin Tendulkar smashes world record one-dayinnings and first ever double hundred for India
*. England's Ajmal Shahzad: My debt to Pakistan legends Waqar Younis and Wasim Akram
*. England's Collingwood could miss Indian Premier League over terror fear
*. THE TOP SPIN: Come in No 14! Are Cook and Kieswetter England's latest partners on time?
*. India's dramatic victory over South Africa retains world rankings top spot
*. IPL safety storm brews as Modi warns missing players risk lucrative future
Share this article:
RedditTweet0Share http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/cricket/article-1253563/NASSER-HUSSAIN-Mighty-Sachin-Tendulkar-tops-Lara-Ponting-The-Don.htmlon TwitterThe URL http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/cricket/article-1253563/NASSER-HUSSAIN-Mighty-Sachin-Tendulkar-tops-Lara-Ponting-The-Don.htmlhas been shared 0 times.View these Tweets.Like189 people like this. Be the first of your friends.
Comments ( 35 )
Here's what other readers have said. Why not debate this issue live on our message boards.
The comments below have been moderated in advance.
Newest Oldest Best rated Worst rated
Mr. Hussain, you have very rightly observed that Tendulkar is the greatest cricketer ever. Not to forget he is a true gentleman. When he bats, in India people switch on their TVs and switch off their life. His humility is what makes us - all Indians - feel genuine happiness for HIS achievements - as if it's US who have achieved all of it.. We derive vicarious pleasure from the greatman's achievements. He has a socio-psychological impact on the nation like no other contemporary Indian..........Just liftsthe NATIONAL MOOD. With this innings, LEGEND of Tendulkar gets more heft..........Congrats Sir Sachin.