Sydney: Sachin Tendulkar said Steve Waugh’s decision to quit international cricket after the upcoming four-Test home series will be greeted with sadness in India.
Hailing the 38-year-old Waugh as one who set great examples for fellow-cricketers, Tendulkar said he admired the Australian Test captain for playing the game at a completely different level.
“I think he set great examples in the way cricket should be played… in tough conditions he would produce some tremendous performances,” Tendulkar told ABC Radio.
“Anyone would want to play like him — he was at a completely different level as far as mental toughness is concerned,” Tendulkar said.
“He’s someone I’ve really admired… he’s shown over the years that he’s very gutsy and when time demands, he’s there to deliver.”
Tendulkar said the people of India, where Waugh has been involved with social work for many years, will be saddened by his decision to quit the game.
The final Test in Sydney, the Indian maestro added, would be special.
“It would be nice to play in front of his home crowd… I’m sure there will be a lot of support and he thoroughly deserves it,” the 30-year-old Tendulkar said. “He’s had a tremendous career. I would like to wish him the very best. He’s set great examples on and off the field for all of us to follow.”
Tendulkar admitted he had not had a lot to do with Waugh off the field, but had enjoyed the time they shared.
“He’s a very private person, we haven’t had many long conversations. We shot (an advertisement) once in India and I got to spend some time with him. He is a very nice person.”
India vice-captain Rahul Dravid said Waugh’s impending retirement would not make him any more determined, as he would have played the same way — whether it was his first or last series. A “bit surprised” by the skipper’s announcement this morning, Dravid said Waugh’s decision would not make the series any “harder or easier” for the visitors.
“Whether it is his first or last Test, he won’t play any differently,” was how Dravid showered praises on Waugh.
“It is sad in a way. He was one of my heroes and someone I looked up to in international cricket,” Dravid told reporters after captain Sourav Ganguly, upset by his team’s performance on the field on Wednesday, refused to come out of the locker-room despite repeated requests.
Dravid said: “I’ve played against Waugh, chatted with him several times and found him very helpful. He is right high up there. He was a terrific professional and a great cricketer. The intensity and commitment he brought to his batting was phenomenal and great to watch.”