London: Spin legend Shane Warne won his last battle with old rival Sachin Tendulkar, but the legendary Australian still feels that the batting maestro was consistently the most awkward opponent.
In his column in a daily, Warne, who ended his playing career Friday night with a 10-wicket win over Tendulkar-led Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League (IPL), said Tendulkar made very few mistakes and always had a clear plan when he faced him.
"Sachin Tendulkar was consistently the most awkward opponent because he made so few mistakes and always had a clear game plan against me," said Warne.
Warne admitted that he always admired Tendulkar and said they have been good friends.
"It has to be Sachin, because of the seemingly effortless way he deals with the pressure of a billion people hanging on his every move. He never puts a toe out of line off the field, and never queries an umpire`s decision on it.”
"We have been good friends for a while - even if it`s not so friendly when we are out in the middle - and one of the pleasures of playing in the IPL has been the chance to spend a little time with him. It`s funny how things work out," said Warne.
Besides Tendulkar, Warne also picked up West Indian Brian Lara and another Indian Navjot Singh Sidhu as the two batsmen whom he liked the least bowling to.
"Then there was Brian Lara, who was absolutely unplayable on his day. When Brian was on song, there wasn`t much you could do apart from watch in awe at the quality of his shot-making. And Navjot Singh Sidhu was unpredictable, a player with a fantastic eye who could just dance down the pitch and put you into Row Z. When I bowled to him in 1998, there were three or four times when I thought I had beaten him through the air, but then the bat came flashing down and the ball disappeared into the stands," said Warne.
Warne said former Australian captain Allan Border was his most admired team mate.
"Allan Border, because of his extraordinary mental toughness and the way he supported me when I first came into the team. He read me the riot act on more than a few occasions, but once he`d finished tearing strips off me, he`d turn up the next morning and it would be "G`day mate, how are ya?" And that`s the way it should be," he said.
Warne also said that the proudest moment of his life was when he walked out at the Sydney Cricket Ground Jan 2, 1992, and big screen flashed "Congratulations to Shane Warne, Australia`s 350th Test cricketer."
The finest moment of his life was winning the 1993 Ashes but the biggest regret remains not beating the West Indies in Adelaide in 1992-93, in his first series "against what was then the best team in the world".
"We were just two runs short of victory when Courtney Walsh got Craig McDermott to nick one through to the keeper. And then his great mate Curtly Ambrose rolled us at Perth, I think he took seven wickets for one run at one point. That was a cracking series though," he said.
Warne said now he hopes for a Knighthood.
"As for me, I`m not quite sure what the future holds. But I do note that the other four men who were chosen in Wisden`s Five Cricketers of the Century are all Sirs. Perhaps my knighthood has been lost in the post. Sir Shane Warne - it has quite a ring to it," he said.