London:Former England captain Nasser Hussain is convinced that Sachin Tendulkar is the greatest batsman the game has ever seen, better than even the iconic Don Bradman.
"I have never liked comparisons between great players, but after Wednesday's incredible game it must be said? Sachin Tendulkar is the greatest batsman of all time," Hussain wrote in his column for 'The Daily Mail'.
Tendulkar became the first batsman to crack a double century in the four-decade-long history of one-day cricket against South Africa on Wednesday and Hussain felt that should settle the debate on who is the greatest batsman ever.
"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," wrote the Chennai-born English cricketer of Indian origin.
Hussain said Tendulkar has somehow managed to retain his early enthusiasm even after two decades of international cricket which he found incredible.
"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," said Hussain, who once resorted to negative tactics and asked spinner Ashley Giles to bowl way outside off-stumps to curb the Indian," he said.
"That extraordinary drive and enthusiasm are what make Tendulkar so special. He has been playing international cricket for 20 years under the intense scrutiny being an Indian superstar brings, so it is remarkable he still loves holding a bat as much as ever," Hussain said.
Looking at Tendulkar's illustrious career, Hussain said guiding the Indian team to 2011 World Cup victory with his broad bat would perhaps give a sense of fulfilment.
"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 a hundred in the World Cup final against Australia? or maybe even England? on home soil this time next year," he said.
"That would be the full stop that would enable Tendulkar to ride off into the sunset with everything achieved in his career," said the Englishman.
Doffing his hat to Tendulkar and referring to maverick soccer coach Jose Maurinho's famous moniker, Hussain said, "My admiration for him is total. To steal the nickname of a certain football coach who led Inter Milan against Chelsea on Wednesday, Sachin Tendulkar truly is The Special One."