Used to love seeing Tendulkar take on Warne: Mark Taylor

Tendulkar's technique and his mental capacity to keep playing for over 22 years are his USPs, Taylor said.

By Lokendra Pratap Sahi

Sachin Tendulkar plays a shot off the bowling of Shane Warne during the 1996 World Cup match between Australia …

Mark Taylor, an iconic former captain of Australia, spoke to The Telegraph exclusively on the one and only Sachin Tendulkar.

The following are excerpts:

First thoughts on Sachin...

What to say? It’s astonishing to score 51 Test hundreds and 49 ODI hundreds... Obviously, he started very young and has played quite a lot of his cricket on very good pitches (in India)... He’s been a terrific batsman.

Sachin’s USP...

His technique, his mental capacity to keep playing for over 22 years... To play that many games (188 Tests and 462 ODIs) and to be still enjoying it is amazing.

The technique factor...

Sachin’s technique is as good as any of the other greats... His grounding has been very good and he picks the ball up so early... Then, he’s such a good timer.

Most abiding memory of Sachin...

I used to love seeing Sachin take on Shane Warne, that would be a contest to watch... Quite clearly one of the contests of the modern era.

If Sachin has been the best after Sir Donald Bradman...

It’s hard to say who is the absolute best... After Sir Don, the names which come to my mind are Viv (Sir Vivian Richards), Greg Chappell, Brian Lara, Ricky Ponting and, of course, Sachin... All five aggressive batsmen, with the ability to dominate attacks... Gritty players as well... Who is the absolute best, well, I don’t want to get into it...

It would be unfair on those whom I didn’t name.

Sachin having been free of controversies...

That’s true, but people are less likely to criticise Sachin than the others.

The future he sees for Sachin...

Not different from Ricky’s... He’s got to keep making runs... However, there will come a day when Sachin will realise he’s not the player he was... That’s the day he should give it up... He’ll soon be 39 (on April 24) and I don’t think you can be at your best at 39. Generally, batsmen are at their best between 28-33.

Finally, whether the realisation that one is just no longer as good as one used to be is painful...

I was 34 when I retired and I knew I wasn’t as good then as I was till a couple of years before that... I could’ve continued, but didn’t... I didn’t want to continue training, day in and day out... I guess it’s a lot harder decision to make nowadays, 13 years on, as there’s so much money involved... I had a Channel 9 contract waiting for me, so I didn’t have to worry (about the future financially)... While I knew my best years were behind me, I also had the opportunity to straightaway do something else. Today, retiring means you potentially give up millions of dollars each year. It’s not an easy decision to make.

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