'Sachin Tendulkar is like Graeme Pollock and Barry Richards — truly fantastic to watch'

Sachin Tendulkar’s retirement will not only bring sadness in India but to every genuine cricket lover around the world © Getty Images

By Clive Rice

I first saw Sachin Tendulkar in Calcutta in 1991 when South Africa returned to the international cricket fold to play a historic One-Day International series in India. We felt he was so young [18] and thought we could sort him out early and quickly, and get him out at not too high a cost.

The surface was extremely dry and difficult, and Allan Donald was bowling fast, in the middle of a great spell. The way Sachin played that day was magnificent. Clearly the youngster who had come out to bat had enormous talent. There are always many talented young cricketers, but you always find out whether one has big-match temperament. We realised then and there that he was a fantastic prospect and would be a match-winner for India for years to come.

I wanted him to come and play for Nottinghamshire, when I was at the county as the manager. He was not only a superb cricketer but a wonderful guy as well — with a very pleasing nature. With all his phenomenal talent, he was not a big-headed guy, not full of himself. I would have very much liked him to play for the Notts. However, I gave up the role of the manager and could not take the plans to fruition.

When you see a genius like Sachin you want to make sure that he does not go until he has played as much as possible. I would have liked to see his orange completely squeezed till the last drop. Someone like Sachin obviously makes you want to see him in action as much you can. I have watched Graeme Pollock and Barry Richards — truly great players and fantastic to watch. Sachin is the same — delightful to watch. But he is the best person to know when his time is up.

I believe there will be enormous opportunities for him, in India as well as in the rest of the world. He has made such a name for himself, he can use his influence to call up the President or Prime Minister if required, market any brand he wants to, get on the Board of any company. It will be for him to decide what is the best for him, whether to stay in the game in various capacities or branch out into any business. I somehow don’t see him as an actual cricket administrator. Not a full time administrator anyway, maybe perhaps in an advisory role.

I would have definitely liked to watch him play in South Africa this year. Actually Sachin retiring will cause sadness not only in India but all around the world, affecting every genuine cricket follower because he has provided so much entertainment over the years.

As told to Arunabha Sengupta

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(Clive Rice was one of the greatest all-rounders of his day whose career cruelly coincided with the period of South Africa’s isolation. Rice scored more than 26,000 First-class runs averaging over 40 and took 930 wickets at 22.49)