Mumbai: Two cricketing greats watched Sachin Tendulkar’s final day at the Wankhede Stadium on Friday.
West Indies former captains Clive Lloyd and Brian Lara were seated along with Dave Cameron, president of the West Indies cricket board, Ajay Sethi, the chairman of Dubai based Channel 2 Group and owner of Caribbean Premier League team St Lucia Zouks, Gerald Majola, former chief executive of South African Cricket Board in the VIP President’s box of the stadium.
Speaking to Gulf News, Lloyd said that the void left by Tendulkar will be filled soon.
“Sachin (Tendulkar) is great batsman but India has great potential in their batsmen to fill his gap. Despite India playing a lot of Twenty20,they are still playing good Test cricket,” Lloyd said.
Talking about Tendulkar’s last innings, Lloyd, who had hit an unbeaten 242 against India in 1975 to steer West Indies to a 201 run victory on this ground, said: “Sachin’s knock was a classy one. His style was brilliant though people would have wanted him to get a century.”
Lloyd then went on to recall how he heard about Tendulkar when he came to India in the late eighties. “Many people talked to me about two promising cricketers and one was Sachin and another Vinod Kambli. People talked about Sachin more owing to the great knocks he was playing and within a short while he became a Test cricket.”
When asked what are the qualities in Tendulkar that he observed which made him a great player. “I think his consistency and concentration. He is more like Sunil (Gavaskar) who also has tremendous powers of concentration. I have always said that these qualities come with determination to give their best . I am also very impressed with Sachin’s fitness. He has maintained his body so well over the years and that could be one of the reasons that he played for so long.”
To a query on how does he compare Tendulkar with Lara, who was seated next to him, Lloyd said: “They both are great players in their own unique ways. I am lucky to have watched them both. I think Sachin is more consistent than Lara.I believe that if Lara could imbibe Sachin’s consistency he would have been a greater player. However when it came to playing long innings Lara always overtook Sachin. Lara was never satisfied with a hundred or two hundred. If Sachin is compared with all the greats of his era like Lara, Ricky Ponting and Inzamam-ul-Haq, I will say Sachin is above all of them."
Lloyd wants India team to use Tendulkar to strengthen their team further. “Sachin is good reader of the game. I believe he can be of great help to the Indian cricket team after he retires. He can pass on all his knowledge to the next generation. I really hope cricket does not lose him,” he said.