Since the day Sachin Tendulkar announced his retirement from Test cricket, tributes have not stopped pouring in for the Master Blaster. The latest to voice their views on Tendulkar are his Ranji Trophy teammates from Mumbai -- Ajinkya Rahane and Abhishek Nayar. Tendulkar will retire from Test cricket after playing his 200th Test at Wankhede Stadium against the West Indies next month.
In an effort to prepare for his landmark 200th Test against the West Indies from November 14-18, Tendulkar will play one final time for Mumbai against Haryana at Lahli from October 27, under the captaincy of Zaheer Khan. Mumbai are the defending Ranji champions.
Rahane, whose lone Test with Tendulkar was the fourth game against Australia earlier this year in March, says he was emotional after hearing the news of Tendulkar's retirement from the game. Rahane, a Rajasthan Royal, has been Sachin's Mumbai Indians opponent for all six seasons in the Indian Premier League so far.
"It was an emotional moment for me. I am fortunate that I got to share the dressing room with him. We will miss him. I played a lot against him. Last year I played the Ranji Trophy alongside him and have gained a lot of experience from him. I have shared a lot of good memories with him," Rahane told NDTV on Tuesday in Mumbai.
Rahane says Tendulkar's attitude off the field makes him great. "We all have learnt that how good he was on field. But the main thing is that how he used to conduct himself off the field. He used to respect all individuals. That's the greatness of the man," he added.
The 25-year-old top order Mumbai batsman said he has frequently walked up to Tendulkar for advice.
"Whenever Sachin is available I go up to him. He tells me that I am batting in good rhythm and that will take me places. It is difficult to imagine a Team India without him. We want to win the first Ranji match and gift it to him," he said.
Another Tendulkar teammate in domestic cricket, all-rounder Abhishek Nayar recalls how the Little Master's tips helped him improve his batting.
"I met him when I was not part of the Ranji side. He spoke to him about my batting and helped me with it. I had a major problem with back-foot strokes. Sachin helped me out. Then when I trained hard, it made significant difference in my batting. It was a life-changing moment for me," Nayar said.
"When I heard that he is retiring, the first thing that came to mind was that I would be missing him and how great he was. I have been fortunate to have played alongside him. We won Ranji playing together last season too. Having him in the dressing room is an added motivation," the 30-year-old left-handed batsman added.
(With inputs from Anurag Dwary)