Lara, Ponting pay rich tributes to Tendulkar
by CricketArchive staff reporter
DateLine: 16th September 2006
Brian Lara and Ricky Ponting have paid tribute to Sachin Tendulkar's
"genius" after the Indian batsman's unbeaten 141 in his first match in
six months since a shoulder injury.
Lara, himself one of the best batsmen the world has seen, watched in
awe as Tendulkar hit 13 fours and five sixes here on Thursday to carry
his bat for only the second time in his 364 limited overs
"I think it was a very good pitch other than a small ridge. I think
that spoilt it of course, but taking that into consideration Tendulkar
played a magnificent innings on such a surface," said the West Indian
captain. "For a guy coming back after six months, it showed how much of
a genius he is. We just had to watch him and appreciate him. It was a
very special innings."
The 33-year-old had been out since March after surgery but proved he
has fully recovered and lost none of his winning instincts in a major
boost for India ahead of the Champions Trophy next month. It was his
40th one-day century but it was not enough to save his side who lost to
the West Indians by 29 runs on the Duckworth/Lewis method in their
rain-hit DLF Cup match.
"Sachin is the best player I have seen and the best player I have
played against," added Australian captain Ponting, who will come up
against Tendulkar in a day/night match here on Saturday. "He's got a
good record against Australia and when I look at his overall record,
something like 75 hundreds in international cricket, that is just an
amazing statistic. He's obviously a world-class player and having him
back at the top of their order makes India even more formidable. Doing
what he did on Thursday is just what he does."
In cricket-mad India, the media and former great Sunil Gavaskar were
equally gushing in their praise. The front page of the Hindustan Times
had a picture of him under the headline "Batman returns", while the
Indian Express cried: "He's back, and how," with a photo of Tendulkar
with his arms raised.
The Times also carried an appreciative article by Gavaskar, who said
Tendulkar had dispelled all doubts over his fitness. "Once he hit that
front foot down and straight drove the fast bowler, it was clear that
he was mentally at peace with himself and had no doubts in his mind
about his fitness," Gavaskar wrote.
Tendulkar himself was buoyed by the way he played.
"It was a very special 100. It was made on a difficult track and I am
very happy with it. Everything clicked," said the batsman, who has
scored more runs than anyone else in the one-day game - 14,289 at an
average of over 44. "I'm feeling absolutely fine and very happy to last
50 overs and still be running. It is a reflection of what I have been
doing the past few months. It has been a challenge because I am coming
out of a serious injury. I had a couple of surgeries but you have to
just keep fighting and try to be mentally strong. I've been able to do
that and I'm happy with that."
Tendulkar's injury forced him to skip seven one-dayers at home against
England and a tour of the West Indies.