Joining the debate on who among Brian Lara and Sachin Tendulkar is a greater batsman, Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi said he considers the West Indian a cut above the best of his era.
"Lara was the best batsman I have seen in my entire career spanning 16 years better. Personally I found him to be a class above the two other greats of this era, Tendulkar and (Ricky) Pointing," Afridi said in an interview.
"He was the most difficult batsmen I have bowled too in every format of the game. He could play and hit boundaries at will. Especially against the spinners he produced boundaries out of the hat. He was a superb player and I enjoyed watching him bat," Afridi said.
"At times I felt he was so good at playing spin that he could even bat against them blindfolded! Tendulkar and Pointing are also greats but I thought Lara was a cut above them," he said.
Talking about the greatest bowlers of his time, Afridi praised Australian, Glenn McGrath and compatriot Mohammad Asif who could swing the new ball both ways at will.
"They were the only bowlers who I felt knew when they were going to bowl an inswinger or an outswinger and that is a big quality in any bowler," he explained.
Afridi also talked about his comeback and a resurgence in his career.
"Now whenever I get out, I talk to myself and I curse myself for not finishing off a match if I am batting. This self assessment therapy has helped me a lot," he said.
Afridi admitted he didn't think much about his batting after getting out or didn't do enough post-examinatio in the past.
"But now when I am batting I am eager to finish off matches myself. I keep on talking to myself and even if I get out, I keep analysing my my batting."
"I have seen the fate of some of our former greats and how they went out. I don't want to go through that phase. I will know when the time is right for me to go (retire). Right now the time is good for me and I can carry on performing in Twenty20 and ODI cricket," he said.
Afridi conceded that in the past he had made mistakes in his career but insisted he never compromised on self-respect.
"I am that sort of a person if I feel I am not wanted or I don't get along with someone I will not play. I couldn't get along with Waqar Younis when he was captain so I decided not to play and stepped aside."
He also described Misbah-ul-Haq as a good captain who was a good planner.
"He is an excellent planner but unfortunately not everything you plan is executed all the time. And one can't expect him to treat other players like schoolchildren," he said.