Besides being master batsmen, Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman have a stark similarity: both are extremely cultured.
But Laxman feels that besides that trait, the other factor that brought them closer was that both were keen to perform for India all the time.
"It’s not only that (being cultured). But it was because we were trying to do our best and win matches for the country," Laxman, who was here to watch Tendulkar’s final Ranji Trophy game, told Mail Today.
"It’s just that we were able to gel together because we always wanted to do well for the team," said Laxman, who came to Lahli on an invitation of the Haryana Cricket Association.
"We were very fortunate that on the field we were able to do something together that helped the team. The entire journey of playing with him was very memorable. And when you play with someone for so many years, you will have a lot of memorable moments."
The classical batsman from Hyderabad, who made his Test debut during Tendulkar’s captaincy, against South Africa in Ahmedabad in 1996, retired from international cricket last year.
Laxman said that he enjoyed his discussions with Tendulkar on many non-cricketing issues as well.
"We used to talk on various topics; our discussions were not restricted to cricket. I can’t single out one or two, but (we used to discuss) various topics that go around the world. He is very knowledgeable and mature. He has got an opinion on every issue and can have a conversation on any subject," he said.
Laxman, who along with Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly and Virender Sehwag, formed the backbone of the Indian batting, said both he and Tendulkar respected domestic cricket.
"It was my pleasure to come here and watch Sachin bat for the last time in a Ranji Trophy match. Like Sachin, I have given a lot of importance to first-class cricket. You could see that whenever Sachin had not been busy with India matches or injured, he always played in the Ranji Trophy," he pointed out.
"Even here he has shown how much he cares for the Ranji Trophy because it was not necessary for him to play this game against Haryana. But he played for the team. He has always done that. It was an opportunity for me to see him bat for the last time in a Ranji match, so I accepted the invitation," the Hyderabad stalwart said.
L AXMAN highlighted several other qualities of Tendulkar, who has announced that the two Tests against the West Indies next month would be his last.
"He gives a lot of respect to the game. Even now one can see how much he respects cricket and never feels he is bigger than the game. It’s great to have played with him," he said.
"Also, he respects his colleagues, seniors and juniors. With the way he has conducted himself on and off the field, he remains a great role model for youngsters."
MASTER DOES THE HARD YARDS
THAT Sachin Tendulkar is keen to end his Ranji Trophy career with a big knock was evident on Monday when he reached the stadium much before the rest of his Mumbai teammates for an extra net session.
Playing his last Ranji match here, Tendulkar scored just five in the first innings against Haryana in the ongoing Group A game at the Bansi Lal Stadium, before a ball from pacer Mohit Sharma hit his elbow on its way to the stumps.
Tendulkar looks keen to make amends in the second innings, and therefore he, along with a member of the team coaching staff, hit the nets and batted for about 45 minutes, before play began at 9.30 am.