Former Pakistan captain Rameez Raja on Sunday wished that Sachin Tendulkar smashes a hundred in his farewell 200th Test while admitting that successive Pakistani teams over the years had failed to check the maestro’s onslaught.
Rameez said Tendulkar fully deserves a fitting farewell when he plays the final match of his 24-year-long international career, in Mumbai.
“He deserves all the accolades, all the importance. And you’ve got to give him a great, resounding reception as a parting shot, wishing him well. I hope he cracks a hundred,” Rameez told Mail Today in an interview.
The suave Rameez, here as a commentator for the India-Australia ODI series, rated Tendulkar as one of the three greatest all-time batsmen, the other two being Don Bradman and his personal favourite Viv Richards.
Rameez, 51, conceded that as captain during the 1997 triangular series in India, in which Sri Lanka was the third team, his strategy was largely defensive against Tendulkar.
“You can’t plan against a genius. You hope that you do the basics well and frustrate him. And because it was an ODI tournament, you expected him to take a little bit of chance. You try to control his favourite areas,” he said.
“It was all about knitting a defensive strategy, because teams from Pakistan tried to attack him with no great result. We wanted to have that mixture where we would take a little bit of risk with the new ball and once he got settled we tried to block his good areas.”
The former opening batsman from Lahore recalled Tendulkar’s maiden Test series, in Pakistan.
“I’ve seen him grow as a leg- Rameez Raja has fond memories of Tendulkar from his maiden series. When he came to Pakistan in 1989, he was a kid. I still remember Kapil Dev raving about a 14 or 15-year-old boy who was going to be a legend,” said Rameez who scored 44 in the first innings in Tendulkar’s debut Test in Karachi.
“And we in the team meetings felt that how could such a young boy have a batting sense leave alone a batting talent at the top level. We knew that here was something very special,” he said.
Rameez, who regularly visits India as commentator, pointed out that Tendulkar’s fans are spread across boundaries.
“I seriously think cricket, especially Indian cricket, wouldn’t, obviously, be the same without him. He’s a legend, such a great role model for all young cricketers all over the world,” he gushed.
“Everybody wants to own Sachin, whether you are an Indian or Pakistani. He’s got loads of fans in Pakistan. You’ve got to give him a great resounding reception. I hope he cracks a hundred in his last match.
Rameez hopes Sachin hits a ton in his farewell TestBy Qaiser Mohammad Ali | Mail Today – Mon 14 Oct, 2013 11:43 AM IST
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