India great Sachin Tendulkar lavished praise on Australia batsman Marnus Labuschagne who he recognised as ‘special’ player after watching him in the second Ashes Test at Lords.
The batting legend was asked which current player reminded him of himself and in bringing up Labuschagne, he paid him the ultimate compliment.
“There are a number of players but I happened to be watching the second Test match which was being played at Lords between England and Australia. When Steve Smith got injured in the first innings, I saw (Marnus) Labuschagne’s second innings and I was sitting with my father-in-law,” Tendulkar recalled.
“I saw Marnus get hit with the second ball off Joffra Archer, and post that, the 15 minutes that he batted I said ‘this player is special’. There is something about him.”
“His footwork was precise and footwork is not physical, it’s mental. If you are not thinking positively in your mind, your feet don’t move. So that clearly indicated to me that this guy is mentally strong because if you are not, your feet will not move and his footwork was incredible, so he would be the one I would say,” Tendulkar said.
Tendulkar was pressed on who he would pick between India captain Virat Kohli and Australia batsman Steve Smith and while he admitted he would pick Kohli, he prefers not to compare the pair.
“I think I’d leave Steve Smith to the other side, Virat has been my friend. I would pick Virat. I basically don’t like getting into comparisons or anything like that. People have tried comparing me with a number of guys and I have said, ‘you know, just leave us alone’ and that’s how I will maintain.
“Let’s not get into comparisons and enjoy what those individuals are doing. They are entertaining the entire cricketing world and it’s a joy to watch both of them but when it gets to picking someone, I think let an Indian pick and Indian guy.”
Tendulkar was joined in Sydney by fellow India legend Yuvraj Singh, with the pair set to play in Sunday’s bushfire relief game ‘The Big Appeal’ in Melbourne.
The pair were both moved by the horrific scenes in Australia over the last few months as bushfires ravaged huge portions of Australian farm and coastal land, resulting in numerous casualties.
“It’s an alarming situation, it’s catastrophic and that’s an understatement because you see the number of lives it has affected and not just humans but also the wildlife which sometimes people don’t talk about. That is equally as important. I’m so happy that I’m here and in whatever way possible to support the cause, to raise money.
“Australia has always been dear to me because in 1991 as an 18-year old, I remember coming here, I spent almost four months here, and I almost had an Aussie accent by the time I went back to India. The competitive cricket that I played here at the age of 18 helped me a lot in my career so I’ve got a special feeling for Australia and for the Australian people.
“Yes, they are extremely competitive on the field – and that is how it is meant to be – but when someone comes here and performs well, they are the first ones to applaud so I appreciate that,” Tendulkar said.
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