South African pace legend Allan Donald feels cricket would be a poorer sport once Sachin Tendulkar retires from the scene as the Indian veteran is "Maradona and Pele put together" for the game.
"Sachin Tendulkar's charm goes beyond the field. For cricket he is Maradona and Pele put together, it is as simple as that. Cricket will be a poorer sport when he quits the game. He has been unbelievably special," the 46-year-old South African has written in the upcoming book 'Sachin - Cricketer of the Century', authored by Vimal Kumar and set to hit the stands later this month.
Donald said whenever he is asked about the greatest in the game, the first name that comes to his mind is Tendulkar.
"Tendulkar's is the first name that comes to mind the moment you ask who is the greatest," he said.
"In 1985, my granddad introduced Sachin to me through the Wisden Cricketer magazine. When he played for Yorkshire in county cricket, I saw him for the first time. He is the No. 1 player. I keep saying that and I don't think I will ever change my mind," he added.
Known for his hostile pace and 'White lightening', Donald has a word of advice for international bowlers on how to prepare for the senior batsman.
"You don't analyse Sachin two days before a Test. We always planned months in advance. We knew how highly Indian teams depended on him.
"History will show you that right-arm express pace bowlers have been successful against him. I spoke to Curtly Ambrose before my 1996 trip to India and he told me to never let Sachin leave the first 15 balls," he explained.