Ahmedabad:"I read in the newspapers somewhere recently that a boy in Mumbai scored 400-odd runs. The papers said he's going to be the next Sachin. How can anyone say that?" an incredulous Sri Lankan spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan asks as the Indian master batsman completed 20 years of international cricket on Sunday.
"There will never be another Sachin," Muralitharan says, paying tribute to the champion batsman with whom he has played against a lot of times during their long international career. The world's highest wicket-taker said you get to see one Tendulkar in a life time.
"In the next hundred years you will not witness another Tendulkar. He is once in a century player," he said.
"He can make runs even when he is 44 years old because his technique is so good. It is this combination of technique and temperament that has made Tendulkar such a great cricketer," said Muralitharan, who has a record of 783 scalps in Test and 512 in ODIs.
Muralitharan said he doesn't have anything new to say about the master-blaster and for him it has been a privilege just to play against him.
"What can I say that has never been said about him before? It's a privilege for those who have played during his (Sachin's) time and so got associated with him. Personally, for me, bowling to him has been a privilege," Muralitharan said.
The Sri Lankan vice captain described Tendulkar and former West Indies skipper Brain Lara as legends of the game but considered the little master as the special one.
"Sachin is more special than anybody else," he said.
"I just don't understand it when you all (pointing fingers at the media) describe just about anybody as the next Sachin.
"There'll never be another!" he added.
Asked about his favourite Tendulkar innings, the off-spinner struggled to pin-point one and said it is always a pleasure to watch the master batsman.
"That double century in Melbourne? The one in Chennai? His century in Perth? It's tough," he said.
"Why pick favourites? There's hardly a better sight than watching him in full flow," he added.