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August 16, 2001
Sir Donald Bradman was first impressed by Sachin Tendulkar while watching a one-day game against Australia in the 1996 World Cup and never missed a chance to see an innings from the Indian maestro after that, the book 'Bradman's Best' reveals.
"Australia won (that match) but not before a stunning 90 from Tendulkar that captured the Don's attention," the book, which chronicles each of the 12 members of the 'Dream Team' selected by Bradman, says in the chapter 'The Star of India'.
The book, authored by Roland Perry which has seen just half a day in the shops, has already become a best-seller with a strong response reported from buyers.
"He was most taken in by Tendulkar's technique, compactness and his shot production and had asked his wife to have a look at the Indian as he felt that Tendulkar played like he had. Jessie agreed that they appeared similar.
"Bradman never missed a chance to see Tendulkar from then until the end of the 1999 three-match Test series in Australia," the book says.
"Bradman ranked Brian Lara and Tendulkar as the best batsmen in the world and found it difficult to judge who was better. He thought that Tendulkar had a very sound defence while Lara was marginally more aggressive and took more risks.
"By 2000, he held the view that they were the best in world cricket, but that Tendulkar just pipped Lara as the world's number one," it says.
Perry adds that by mid-1998, after watching Tendulkar destroy Australia in Tests and one-day games in India, Bradman ranked him with Barry Richards, Arthur Morris and Gary Sobers.
"Not long after that series against Australia, Tendulkar received the invitation of a lifetime to join Shane Warne in meeting Bradman at his Kensington Park home in Adelaide on his 90th birthday (August 27, 1998). Tendulkar was honoured to be told by Bradman that he was today's best batsman. They discussed Gary Sobers, whom Bradman had long regarded as the best cricketer of all time," the book reads.
On their meeting, Perry writes, "Tendulkar asked Bradman how he prepared himself before a big match. Bradman replied that when he was in Adelaide he would go to his job as a sharebroker for several hours before going to the ground.
"Sometimes he would even toss the coin still wearing his suit. After the game he would return to the office for several more hours. When he was playing games away from Adelaide, he would go for a long walk before and after the match.
"After the meeting, Bradman told Perry how impressed he was with Tendulkar and how he expected him to go on to even greater achievements. With a little luck, he will have another decade at the top, the Don told Perry.
"Sir Don found Sunil Gavaskar a fine technician but thought his chief fault was lack of aggression. Bradman noted, it is not sufficient to keep the ball out of the stumps and not give a catch. There is need to attack, take the initiative from the bowlers and set up conditions for the batsmen to follow.
"After the Don stopped South Africa from touring Australia in 1971-72, he had set up alternative teams. The world squad included Sunil Gavaskar, Gary Sobers, FM Engineer, Rohan Kanhai, Zaheer Abbas, Clive Lloyd and Tony Greig," it says.
The book also contains a letter by Gavaskar to Tendulkar when the latter failed to win the Mumbai Cricket Associations Best Junior Cricketer Award.
"The 'Little Master' commended Tendulkar on his performance and asked him not to be disappointed. Gavaskar wrote, If you look at the best award winners, you will find one name missing and that person has not done too badly in Test cricket!!"
Stats highlights from the fourth ODI between India and West Indies in Dharamsala