Idol to opening partner
In 1992 I saw Sachin Tendulkar for the first time, on TV during the World Cup. I was in class seven and the exams were on, but I skipped them because the games used to be telecast early in the morning and clashed with the school timings.
I just loved the way he batted - that first memory is still fresh. I even tried copying him, standing in front of the TV, bat in hand, in my old house in Najafgarh. I tried to keep my body still, head still and tried to hit a straight drive or the back-foot punch like he did, but I couldn't do it.
In the 1993-94 New Zealand series I would stay awake and bother the neighbours in the middle of the night just to watch him play. We didn't have cable television in our house. That was the first time he played as an opener.
I have followed his career closely, and have seen most of his innings from before the time I joined the Indian team.
Both of us have come a long away and it is a great honour that Tendulkar thinks I come close to resembling him as a batsman. It is a great honour, like a dream come true. If I die tomorrow I'll be the happiest man because I played this game because of Tendulkar, and Tendulkar himself saying that I resemble him - there is no bigger compliment than that.
As told to Nagraj Gollapudi, an assistant editor at Cricinfo