Sachin Tendulkar in league of his own: Shahid Afridi

Sachin Tendulkar, who made his debut at the tender age of 16, is set to retire after he completes a record 200 Tests © Getty Images

Karachi: Oct 10, 2013

Pakistan’s flamboyant all-rounder Shahid Afridi led the tributes for India’s batting maestro, Sachin Tendulkar, who announced on Thursday that he would end his Test career after playing in his 200th Test.

“Tendulkar has always been in a league of his own. I can’t compare anyone with him,” Afridi told PTI.

Tendulkar, who made his debut at the tender age of 16, is set to retire after he completes a record 200 Tests. He is the leading Test run-scorer with 15,837 runs.

“I have played a lot against him and apart from being a very affable and down to earth and nice person, Tendulkar is a true professional,” Afridi said.

“The fact that he has remained the biggest crowd-puller and name in world cricket for the last so many years speaks volumes of his dedication to cricket,” Afridi added.

The all-rounder, who quit playing Test cricket in 2010, said the Indian had been among his favorite players with West Indian Brian Lara and he enjoyed watching him bat.

“His achievements won’t ever be surpassed for a very very long time,” Afridi added.

Pakistan’s former captain, Javed Miandad, who saw Tendulkar make his Test debut at the age of 16 in Karachi in 1989 said youngsters who play or want to play cricket the world over could learn from Tendulkar.

“I think Tendulkar has been the ideal role model in Indian cricket and that is why we are now seeing a new generation of quality batsmen from India,” Miandad said.

He said that he had always known that Tendulkar was going to make a big impact in world cricket.

“The first time I saw him play he bravely faced a top bowling attack of Imran, Waqar, Qadir and as the series progressed he grew in confidence. He has always remained technically a very high class batsmen.”

“But what has made him such a high profile sportsman is because he has always remained very down to earth person, with no airs about him.”

Pakistan’s former coach and Test opener Mohsin Khan said that international cricket would be the poorer the day Tendulkar played his last game.

“I have always loved seeing him bat because he embodies all the good things about being an orthodox batsman. His timing and balance have always been a treat to watch.”

“Plus he has been a gentleman cricketer and set an example for others when international cricket has been hit by so many corruption scandals,” Mohsin said.

Former captain Rashid Latif said he had kept wickets while watching Tendulkar bat and they were many times he admired his calibre or shots.

“He is in my book one off the best batsmen produced by India which has a rich history of producing quality batsmen.

But what has put apart Tendulkar has been his hunger for runs even at this point of his career. I think he has taken the right decision to retire with grace as Indian cricket is now blessed with some top-class batting talent,” Latif said.

Sachin Tendulkar Retirement