Approaching his 40th birthday, Sachin Tendulkar's amazing career has fetched him glowing tributes from fellow cricketers who say the batting great's longevity and passion for the game can never be surpassed. At least for the time being, no one is talking about Tendulkar's form and retirement.
Tendulkar, who will turn 40 on April 24, has won appreciation from Australian cricketers and of course, former Indian coach and South African batsman, Gary Kirsten. Clarke said Tendulkar's uniqueness was his ability to keep the intensity going even after 24 years of playing international cricket.
"When you have achieved the amount Sachin has, it is very easy to let your guard down. Sachin's uniqueness is his ability to keep the intensity going even after 24 years of international cricket. He still chases every ball hard, runs every single with intensity, appeals with great passion and celebrates like a youngster. Such passion for the game is unprecedented and I think every youngster should learn from him," said Clarke.
Kirsten felt whether he saw Tendulkar as an opposition player or as his coach, his view about the legendary batsman never changed.
"I have always found Sachin to be a thoroughly decent person. He is a humble man considering his cricket status around the world. He is cricket's greatest role model and continues to provide a great example for young aspiring cricketers on how to conduct oneself throughout one's career. Although I got to know him better when I was with the Indian team, my views have never changed," said Kirsten.
The South African said Tendulkar always puts the team above self:
"I felt he had a fantastic presence in the dressing room without having to say too much. I used to really enjoy watching him have conversations with the young players on how to deal with match situations. In the time I was with the team, I always felt he had a strong desire for the team to do well, regardless of his own personal success."
Recollecting his most memorable moment of Tendulkar, Kirsten said, "I loved spending time in the nets with Sachin. His desire to continue asking questions and learn about his game will long live with me. However, the evening his wife Anjali came up to me to say thank you for everything I had done will remain a highlight of my coaching career."
Former Australian fast bowler Glenn McGrath said while a glare or a few aggressive words from him rattled most batsmen, the same strategy hardly worked against Tendulkar. "I always felt it made him more determined. My success against him came when I didn't say a great deal. I realised quickly it was best not to talk too much," McGrath said.
(With inputs from PTI)