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Srikkanth avoids quality-debate
- Sachin Tendulkar's first national captain doesn't take sides

Calcutta: Krishnamachari Srikkanth's Test debut was under Sunil Gavaskar, in 1981-82. Eight seasons on, Srikkanth was captain when Sachin Tendulkar played his first Test.

His relationship with both, therefore, has been special.

And, perhaps, it's in not wanting to 'hurt' either that Srikkanth turned diplomatic and declined to pick who scores more on the quality of the 34 centuries.

'Look, instead of choosing one over the other, I'll just say I'm happy that when Gavaskar gets eclipsed the one getting ahead is still going to be an Indian ' Sachin. Both are great,' he told The Telegraph, when contacted on his cell.

Speaking on Saturday afternoon, Srikkanth added: 'It's my belief that Sachin will continue for at least three years' So, it's possible that the number of centuries he ends with won't get bettered'

Asked to list what stood out in Sachin's debut series (in Pakistan), he replied: 'Technique, both while attacking and defending, and temperament. It was such a high-pressure tour and Sachin had an ordinary debut (15), yet the way he responded to situations was a lesson even for the more experienced.'

Srikkanth, in fact, recalled having 'watched' Sachin ' at Dilip Vengsarkar's behest ' a season before his debut.

'Even then, I was struck by his composure and, more significantly, his technique' Basically, Sachin (then only 15) was in absolute control,' he reminisced with admiration, adding: 'Often, it's forgotten that he is strong both off his front and back foot'

Srikkanth, by the way, disagreed with a suggestion that the 31-year-old could move away from ODIs and concentrate exclusively on Test cricket.

'No way' He's good enough for at least three years at all levels' Moreover, Sachin knows his body best and we shouldn't look at limited India-appearances,' he insisted.

It's difficult arguing with the irrepressible Srikkanth.

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