Sachin Tendulkar remained a complete batsman: Muttiah Muralitharan

Sachin Tendulkar (above) managed to soak up pressure for about quarter of a century, says Muttiah Muralitharan © Getty Images

Nov 7, 2013

Former Sri Lanka cricketer Muttiah Muralitharan on Thursday said Sachin Tendulkar remained a complete batsman throughout his career, saying he was comfortable playing against all kinds of bowling attacks in all conditions.

Muralitharan wrote in his column in Times of India, “Long before my first encounter with Sachin, during a one-day series in 1993, he had become a legend. I had hardly watched him bat on the television as in those days we rarely saw live TV broadcasts in Sri Lanka, but as soon as I saw him, I realised he was special.”

“He scored 20-odd, but he played with such authority and command it was unnerving, Indeed, Sachin in the first half of his career was aggressive and intimidating batsman. He took control of the bowling attack and did not allow you to settle into any rhythm. Bad balls were punished mercilessly and even good balls were plundered for boundaries.”

“He [Sachin] was willing to take risks and he was a wonderful sight in full flow. As the years ticked on, though, the expectations from him mushroomed so much that he had to change his game. As he matured as a person and as a batsman, he was less inclined to take risks and was less aggressive. For me as a bowler, I then started to find it easier to bowl at him, although he remained a brilliant, complete batsman.”

Murali said Tendulkar remained consistent throughout his career and had a perfect technique.

“The thing with Sachin is that statistics don’t lie. He’s done it all. He was consistent at home and overseas.  He was comfortable against pace and spin. He could thrive on slow pitches and bouncy pitches. His technique was rock-solid and he has been outstandingly consistent throughout a truly amazing career. What I admire most about him is his rock-solid temperament and astonishing mental strength. Performing consistently when under such enormous pressure of expectation is not easy. I know because I had that for most of my career. I was expected to take wickets at will and be the match-winner all the time.”

He concluded, “In Sachin’s case, the pressure was far greater and yet he managed to soak it all up for a quarter of a century. How he sustained that level of excellence for so long, I have no idea! Other players would have just burned out and faded away, but Sachin just kept going and going.”