Graham Gooch, currently England’s batting coach, was his country’s captain during Sachin Tendulkar’s first tour of England — 1990. He has, therefore, seen him in person for over two decades.
The following are excerpts
Q Some words on Sachin...
A (Smiles) What do you say about Sachin? You and I have been talking about him for over 20 years... He still has the fire, still has the drive... But time catches up with everyone and, in a reasonably short space of time, it will catch up with Sachin too.
What has ensured Sachin’s longevity?
A classical technique, a classical temperament... An appetite for big runs... I’m sure that cricket lovers throughout the world will hope that he stays around a little longer.
Should Sachin have been focusing exclusively on Test cricket in the past year?
It’s up to the individual alone to take such decisions... As you get older, you need to schedule your rest periods, looking perhaps to play in only one format. If Sachin has the drive to play both Tests and ODIs, then who is anybody to say that he shouldn’t?
How will the world remember Sachin?
He has a 100 hundreds in the two oldest formats, but I suppose most people will remember him for his magnificent Test career.
Among present-day batsmen, who comes the closest to Sachin?
Jacques Kallis... They’ve got older, but their performances are still ranked among the best. Kallis is a phenomenal cricketer and his record is testimony to his skill, his fitness and the mentality he possesses.
Finally, among the younger lot, who stands out in India?
Virat Kohli. He’s exciting, he’s vibrant... Attacks in limited-overs cricket... We get to see many good batsmen, but what matters is the number of matches they help their team win... It’s not just about racking up the numbers and having a high average... Virat is there at a time when the younger players in India have to step up... He’s the future of cricket here.