Sachin Tendulkar the legend deserves long farewell, says Nasser Hussain
Last Updated: 11/10/13 8:15am
Sachin Tendulkar's achievements as a batsman and a man are phenomenal.
A peerless run-scorer who has carried the hopes of a nation for over two decades, Sachin is a legend.
When he retires after playing his 200th Test next month, people will look back at his stats and rightly rank him right up there alongside the great Don Bradman.
Just as no-one will ever come close to matching Bradman's Test average, so no-one will ever come close to Tendulkar's incredible record.
What's more, he's done it under intense pressure and scrutiny.
We often hear about the demands placed on an England captain but that is nothing compared to what Sachin has shouldered for the last 24 years and yet he has handled that pressure with a dignity that has been immense. It speaks volumes for his strength of character.
"In my time as England captain I remember endless meetings in which we debated how to get Sachin out - and then wishing I had 15 fielders when he was batting."
In my time as England captain I remember endless meetings in which we debated how to get Sachin out - and then wishing I had 15 fielders when he was batting.
The main problem was that he had no technical weakness or obvious issue with his batting!
Sachin is such a classical player that you always had to have a very straight mid-on but simply hitting one channel outside off-stump repeatedly wouldn't get him out. Like Rahul Dravid, Sachin has immense patience and doesn't get bored easily!
So we tried to come up with ideas a little bit outside the box - perhaps Andrew Flintoff would try to give him a bit of a going over, or Ashley Giles would bowl over the wicket into the rough.
Needless to say, he usually came out on top; you'd expect nothing less from someone who has played so many great innings.
If the unbeaten 148 he scored as a teenager in Australia when everyone else was failing underlined what a talent he could be, the hundred he scored in Chennai just after the Mumbai bombings showed the measure of the man.
I'll also never forget the reception the boy from Mumbai received after winning the 2011 World Cup and the way he was carried around the ground by his team-mates after the final.
It took me back to the time I first came across Sachin, on my first England tour back in 1989.
I was a boy from nowhere picked to carry the drinks in the Nehru Cup in India. I'd heard a few stories about this teenager who had scored a triple hundred and put on over 600 with Vinod Kambli and they were easy to believe as he proceeded to smash the England bowlers.
It was clear he was a star of the future and since then he has just kept delivering even though he's had issues with injury, including tennis elbow.
His longevity is all the more incredible when you consider the amount of time that he's spent in the middle. He's not like some of us who nick off and put our feet up for two days - Sachin is either fielding or batting!
All the compliments he gets in the weeks ahead are well and truly deserved and his send-off will be quite some occasion.
I'm sure the whole country will get behind him because if anyone deserves a long farewell, it is Sachin.