I have been inspired by Sachin Tendulkar's exploits, says Rahul Dravid
Playing for one last time together in a cricket match, albeit for different teams in the Champions League Twenty20 summit clash here, Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid on Sunday heaped encomiums on each other with the latter saying that his long time former India team-mate had inspired him to strive for excellence in the game.
Tendulkar's final T20 act and Dravid's last hurrah in competitive cricket were the talking points at the Feroz Shah Kotla here as the two legends got together though in the colours of Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals. The two legendary batsmen had announced that this would be their final Twenty20 season.
"Even though Tendulkar is of my age or two months younger to me, he is seven years senior to me as an international cricketer. When I came into the Indian team, in my third Test, Tendulkar was India captain. He was someone you would look up to as a young cricketer growing up. You saw this young kid do amazing things across the world. It was sort of inspiration for all of us playing first-class cricket," Dravid said before the start of the CLT20 finale.
"It was like, look if this guy can do it, we can also try to do it. The opportunity to try and share a dressing room with him, that was a huge motivation. For me to be on that England trip for the first time and share a dressing with him was a huge trip," said Dravid.
The 40-year-old Dravid had retired from international cricket at the beginning of 2012 while Tendulkar, who retired from One-Day Internationals last December, is in the twilight of his Test career. Together they have scored close to 92,000 runs in all formats of the game.
Tendulkar, who is also 40, returned the compliments, by describing Dravid as the 'master technician'.
The two cricket legends played together for the country for 16 years but rarely they have played against each other.
Asked about this, Dravid, who is leading the Rajasthan Royals side, said, "I can't remember playing against Sachin in Ranji Trophy for Karnataka versus Mumbai. Only played against him in West Zone versus South Zone. All our contests have been in coloured clothing, surprisingly, in spite of the fact that we played for so many years together. So one final time it is always great to play against Sachin."
Tendulkar also said that he would cherish this moment.
"I remember Rahul being part of Wills Trophy team when I was his captain but we played in whites. That was the first time I saw Rahul. I think it was way back in 1993-94 and since then we have been in whites and colours but playing in same team," he said.
"This is rare moment where we two actually get to play against each other in colour clothing, obviously in IPL. But on any other platform we have not been able to play against each other in whites and that would have been something special," said the senior batsman who is standing on the cusp of playing his 200th Test.