There was a lot of buzz about Sachin Tendulkar, the Indian great, even before he had made his debut for India back in 1989. Sachin played his first Test against Pakistan and even they were wondering why this 16-year-old is called as a player to watch out, revealed former Pakistan pacer Wasim Akram at Salaam Cricket 2019.
"I remember when India was about to come to Pakistan - we heard about a young sensation coming from India. And we thought how could a 16-year-old boy playing Test cricket be so good?
"But he did not react to provocation from our pacers. Top batsmen do not react. I would get very annoyed when people smiled back. On that tour, Pakistan got to know who Sachin Tendulkar was. We realized this guy was something special," Akram said. Seen as two strong competitors on the field, Wasim and Sachin are good friends now.
Akram lauded Sachin for his hospitality. He has visited his house and called the master-blaster a great host. "I have been to Sachin's house in Mumbai. He is a great host and if he invites you, make sure you go. He treated me to home-cooked food and looked after me well," Akram said.
Tendulkar said he admires and respects Wasim Akram as a cricketer and as a good human being.
"Our cricket rivalry was on-field. A lot of cricketers are on-field champions but they do not get along off the field. But Wasim and I gelled well off the field. You earn respect not just with good cricket but by being good humans too," he said.
(With India Today Inputs)