The Telegraph
Thursday , March 31 , 2011
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Sachin’s has been a very different story: Waqar
- Pak coach reflects on The Master

Chandigarh: Pakistan’s coach Waqar Younis, who made his Test debut in the same match (Karachi, November 1989) as Sachin Tendulkar, saluted The Master in a one-on-one with The Telegraph, at the Taj, on Tuesday.

Younis, incidentally, is a former captain.

The following are excerpts

On Sachin still playing...

(Laughs) I quit eight years ago, did some commentary and, now, am the Pakistan coach... I seem to have tried my hand at all options, but Sachin is still at the crease! I’ve explored all avenues of staying connected with cricket.

Sachin the batsman...

Certainly the best I’ve seen... People talk of (Sir Don) Bradman, but our generation and the ones immediately before us didn’t get to see him... Sure, he has an astounding average (99.94), but of the cricketers I’ve watched, Sachin’s the best.

What Sachin has shown...

That if your talent is backed up with the hunger to make a mark, then you’ll succeed... In the past 20-25 years, I’ve seen a number of cricketers with so much talent, but many of them quickly faded away. They neither had the hunger nor the discipline... They just didn’t push themselves. Sachin’s has been a very different story.

Sachin’s USP...

Passion, the hunger... Sachin’s technique is very sound... Look, he has so much going for him... His dedication is admirable, for he continues to keep working hard... He has made the fullest use of his talent... He’s a short guy, but has done serious damage to teams.

His impression of Sachin in his debut series...

Actually, even before that series, I’d heard a lot about Sachin from Ajay Jadeja, when he’d come to Pakistan for an U-19 tour... He’d been all praise for him... So, I was expecting something special from Sachin... He was a kid then, curly hair and all... He was good in his first series, but even he couldn’t have imagined he’d go this far and become such a record-smasher.

Sachin not going off in the Sialkot Test despite being hit on the nose by him...

Yes, he showed guts... He was just 16, but showed plenty of character. That Test was played on a green top and batting couldn’t have been that easy, but the kid appeared to mature during the course of that one Test. Sachin made a statement there... He’s probably still around because of not having retired hurt in Sialkot.

The accolades which keep coming Sachin’s way...

All richly deserved.

Sachin being one short of a century of centuries in Tests and ODIs...

Well, 99 or 100, it’s a mind-boggling achievement.

If Sachin’s the perfect role model...

Of course... I’ve never heard of Sachin being dragged into any controversy... At times, I’ve wondered how he’s able to stay so calm and not react to certain things which are said and written... I would’ve reacted, that’s for sure, but he’s made differently.

What can the youngsters learn from Sachin...

Heaps of things... As a cricketer, as a person.

Finally, on Sachin the person...

So humble... Soft-spoken, with absolutely nothing to suggest that he’s the Sachin Tendulkar. He’s so grounded. It’s amazing.

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