New Delhi: The glamour and glitz of Twenty20 has had its adverse affect on Test cricket and only someone of Sachin Tendulkar’s stature can help restore the waning popularity of the traditional form of the game, feels former Sri Lankan captain Arjuna Ranatunga.
The Lankan captain lavished praise on Sachin for not treating the game as a source of income.
“Sachin is an iconic figure. We need cricketers like him to save Test cricket. As long as Sachin is playing, I am sure Test cricket is safe,” Rantunga told reporters from Colombo while congratulating the champion batsman on his 50th Test century.
“He has been playing for more than 20 years now. I think he is a rare cricketer who does not consider cricket as a source of income. This is the secret of his longevity and phenomenal success as well,” the cricketer turned politician said.
The skipper of the 1996 World cup winning Lankan team also believes that some of the greatest attributes of Sachin like dedication, commitment and passion for the game is lacking in cricketers of modern era.
“Sachin has sacrificed a lot to reach the pinnacle. He has sacrificed playing T20 international cricket which is all about money and glamour.”
“Young players, who do not hesitate sacrificing playing for the country for financial gains, should learn quite a few lessons from him,” Ranatunga took an indirect dig at some senior Sri Lankan players who had refused to tour England to take part in cash-rich Indian Premier League.
Ranatunga, who has played in country’s inaugural as well as 100th Test match feels that it will be unfair to compare Tendulkar with Sir Don Bradman.
“I have not seen Sir Don playing but Sachin is the best batman in modern era. It is not fair to compare two legends of different generation. Bradman was the best in his era and Sachin is the best in his era,” said Ranatunga.
Rantunga also dismissed criticism that Sachin hasn’t been a match-winner or a finisher of the game.
“I don’t endorse these kind of media generated arguments. This man has scored so many runs, centuries and has played several crucial knocks. What else do you expect from him?” said the burly former Lankan captain.
He feels that it was privilege to compete with Sachin for more than a decade.
“Sachin is very humble. A real gentleman. He is very down to earth despite his stupendous achievements. I consider myself fortunate that I have played enough cricket against him,” said Ranatunga who had retired after the 1999 World Cup.
Ranatunga feels that it’s entirely upto Sachin as to how long he wants to continue playing.
“It is upto him as to how long he wants to play. As far as I am concerned, we are fortunate that we can watch him bat. Once he retires, the cricket fraternity will need him even more as he will remain the biggest ambassador of the game,” Ranatunga concluded.