Mumbai: Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar on Tuesday said Sachin Tendulkar would have been successful in any era because of his sound technique and temperament and cited Sir Don Bradman’s words to support his claim. “As Sir Don Bradman said a great in one era would have been a great in any era. 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,” Gavaskar said. Gavaskar, however, refused to compare Bradman with Tendulkar.
“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 said the trio of Bradman, Sir Garfield Sobers and Tendulkar are to cricket what Michael Jordan is to basketball, Mohammad Ali to boxing and Pele to football.
“There were few men who have embellished sports and made that sport beyond the sport itself. 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,” Gavaskar at India Today Group’s ‘Salaam Sachin’ function at city hotel here.
Gavaskar said he realised Tendulkar’s potential when he watched him bat during his maiden first-class game.
“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. He certainly showed the potential to go on and make life miserable for the bowlers of the world,” he said.
Gavaskar feels Tendulkar’s key to success was his balance, both on and off the field. “Balance on the field is in terms of cricketing balance. 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,” he said.
Gavaskar also said that he was not really surprised by Tendulkar’s decision to quit the game after playing his milestone 200th Test against West Indies at Mumbai, starting Thursday. “Not really because around a certain age people do start thinking of life after the game. So it was on the cards.”
Gavaskar appreciated Tendulkar’s desire to learn and said the champion batsman has approached him many a times for feedbacks 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,” he said.
Asked to list down Tendulkar’s best knock, Gavaskar recollects: “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.”
Asked whether Tendulkar is a mixture of Gavaskar and Gundappa Vishwanath with flair of Viv Richards, the former India skipper said, “I would say Sachin Tendulkar is Sachin Tendulkar. Better of to say he is Sachin Tendulkar. To say he is a mixture of some players is not fair to Sachin.”
When asked about Tendulkar’s biggest regrets of his life, Gavaskar said, “The times that he scored runs and India lost and the times he didn’t score and India lost. Those are the things he would regret most.”
As Tendulkar steps on to play his swansong Test on Thursday, Gavaskar said the little master will feel some pressure. “Sachin may feel the pressure. Somebody in the family should help. The biggest pressure is whether this person has got tickets or the other has or not.”