Sachin Tendulkar is India’s biggest icon and a complete package as a cricketer: Arbaaz Khan

Arbaaz Khan (above) feels that Sachin Tendulkar’s commitment and dedication to the game even at the age of 40 is a great lesson for aspiring youngsters. Photo Courtesy: BollywoodLife

Mumbai: Apr 21, 2013

Bollywood actor and producer Arbaaz Khan spoke about what he thought of India’s favourite son Sachin Tendulkar for a special edition of the Outlook magazine.

“When I was approached by Outlook to write about Sachin Tendulkar, my first thought was I could go on and on and on. We are dealing with India’s single biggest icon here and there’s so much to say about the man who has given us all incredible joy over the past 24 long years.”

Talking further about Tendulkar’s talent and his ability to hone it the way he has in the last two decades, Arbaaz said, “It is important to say upfront that many are blessed with talent, but to be able to hone it in the way Sachin has and to be able to give fans the kind of joy for as long as he has is truly exceptional.”

Arbaaz added, “Many talented men have other vices. Some like the fast lifestyle while others prefer their drink at the end of a rigorous work day. I am not sitting in moral judgment here, but Sachin has not given anyone an opportunity to say anything even here. He’s just been perfect and that’s what makes him the greatest. Both on and off the field he’s a real role model and that’s what I have admired the most in the man,”

Arbaaz felt that Tendulkar’s commitment and dedication to the game even at the age of 40 is a great lesson for aspiring youngsters. “To step out and play Ranji Trophy and Irani Trophy at age 40 and play the way he did was a lesson for every youngster who aspires to be a cricketer, a lesson to those critics who had made adverse comments on his longevity.”

Arbaaz went down memory lane while talking about his first memory of Tendulkar. “My first memory of Sachin goes back to his debut tour of Pakistan in 1989. It was one of the toughest tours of all time and Sachin was just 16 when he played the likes of Imran Khan, Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis. It was towards the end of that tour that I remember him hitting Abdul Qadir for four massive sixes in an over in a 20-over contest and was amazed at such confidence. He was uninhibited and determined, confident and dominant and it was just incredible to see him in action. That innings was a statement to the cricket world; it was a trailer for things to come in the future. Importantly for him and India, he has gone on to fulfill every dream we had for him and has given us more than we may have expected or imagined,” he added.

Comparing some of the greats of the modern era, Arbaaz spoke about Matthew Hayden, Brian Lara, Ricky Ponting and felt that Tendulkar was equal to all of them put together.

“I have enjoyed watching many a batting great of our generation but Sachin is just extraordinary. Now, I loved Brian Lara’s flamboyance,Matthew Hayden’s power was truly special and so was Ricky Ponting’s competitiveness. Each of these men is a true great of the game and will always find a place in the list of cricket’s all-time greats. But Sachin, to the absolute amazement of every Indian cricket fan, combined all these qualities in one player.”

“He was flamboyant — think of the desert storm innings in Sharjah in 1998 against the Australians. He packed a punch — think of the Abdul Qadir over very early on in his career. And he has always been competitive — think of his World Cup exploits against Pakistan right through the last two decades.”

“Sachin, I wish to emphasise, is the complete package, something the cricket world had never seen before. And that’s what makes him the real Indian icon I have so thoroughly enjoyed watching for 24 years,” he added.