Kolkata: Legendary England cricketer-turned-commentator Geoff Boycott has paid Sachin Tendulkar the ultimate compliment on his 40th birthday.
In a single-page, hand-written letter - a copy of which was made available to Gulf News - Boycott compares Tendulkar to the late Jack ‘Master’ Hobbs, one of the greatest batsmen in the history of the game.
Boycott’s letter says: “To Sachin Tendulkar on your 40th Birthday.
“Have a Lovely day and remember Jack Hobbs of Surrey and England made hundred first class centuries after his 40th birthday - his total was
197 first class centuries.
“I believe you are the nearest I have ever seen in my 50 years of playing and commentating to Jack Hobbs. In your career, you have shown a remarkable mobility to bat superbly in all types of condition that will be your legacy - great technique - mental toughness and an iron will to go with a very strong determined character.”
Boycott, who is currently a member of BBC Radio 4’s Test Match Special commentary team, appears to encourage Tendulkar not to think about retirement now. “Enjoy the next years. You have given so much pleasure to so many people. So make sure you enjoy what demands of your batting,” Boycott writes.
Tendulkar was born on April 24, 1973, the day on which Hobbs made his first-class debut for Surrey against the Gentlemen of England.
The connection does not end there, though. Like Hobbs, Tendulkar is not just known for his record-breaking skills but also his longevity. He has survived 24 years at the top, during which he has re-written almost every chapter in the record books.
However, Hobbs’ permanence eclipses Tendulkar’s given that he played his last Test at the age of 47 and his last match for Surrey four years later in 1934.
Boycott may well be recalling Hobbs’ feat when he signs off his birthday wish to Tendulkar with the lines - “My warmest wishes - life begins at 40. I played Test match until I was 41 1/ 2.”