Dubai: Sachin Tendulkar got a ringing endorsement from former Australia speedster Brett Lee when the latter revealed the complete ease with which the master batsman tackled spin legend Shane Warne all through his playing career.
“It was almost like he was playing cat-and-mouse with Warne and not many batsmen can play cat-and-mouse with Shane Warne because he’s so talented. But on days, Sachin Tendulkar was toying with Warne and that does not happen often,” Lee said in a Star Sports show.
“He (Tendulkar) used to advance down the wicket a few times and invite Warne to bowl a fraction too short. Sometimes, he would wait patiently on the backfoot and play those beautiful shots,” said Lee.
Master batsman Tendulkar and leg-spin wizard Warne, the two all-time greats of the game, had an enduring duel and the Australian was unusually candid to acknowledge the batsman’s supremacy over him on a number of occasions - including the 'Desert Storm' century in Sharjah in 1998.
“I can promise you Sachin is not [in] my dreams and thoughts today. I can’t recall which year it was, but he played [a] terrific Innings and they won Test matches (against Australia). I said probably, as a throwaway line tongue-in-cheek, I have nightmares about Sachin’s drive,’’ Warne had said in zest in an interview sometime back.
Showering praise on Tendulkar’s craft, Lee said: ‘‘The way Sachin used to read bowlers out of their hands, the different techniques he used to play different balls was pure class.
“There were times when Warne would try and get the trajectory a bit different through the air and sometimes, he would try and get a few balls to drop. Every time he would try the subtle variations, there was only Sachin who would pick them up.
“Warne would bamboozle other batsmen around the world, but Sachin would watch the hand much better than most of the other batsmen.
“Warne hated it, he would come back and say that he tried everything to get Sachin out, but he couldn’t,” Lee said.
“I was 22 years when I got my first opportunity to play against the Little Master,” Lee, who played 76 Tests, 221 One-Day Internationals and 25 T20 Internationals for Australia, said while recalling the first time he played against Tendulkar.
“I nicked him off and I thought I’m done. I didn’t care about a Test match since I was so happy to get Sachin Tendulkar out,” Lee added.