Sachin Tendulkar never considered himself bigger than the game: VVS Laxman
He feels honoured to have shared the dressing room with Sachin Tendulkar for 16 years and VVS Laxman says the retiring batsman is remarkably special for never considering himself bigger than the game, despite being a player who could "achieve anything on the ground".
"The most important thing which the youngsters can learn from Sachin is that he never considered himself above the game. The respect he gave to the game and his colleagues makes him special," Laxman said.
"He is such a special talent and he always played in the spirit of the game. He always kept the team's requirement above his. The way he came back from injuries and played for the country is inspiring. He is a true role model not only for cricketers but for all sportspersons," he said.
"It has been a remarkable and glittering career not only because of the records and runs he scored but the way he carried himself," he added.
Laxman felt that like every Indian cricketer he too grew up idolising Tendulkar.
"I am honoured to have played with him for 16 years. I grew up idolising from a young age when he played the best bowlers in the world with so much ease," said the former Test batsman.
He also said it was Tendulkar who made him feel comfortable in the dressing room in his debut series against South Africa in 1996.
"Sachin was the captain of the team when I made debut in 1996. He made sure that I felt comfortable in dressing room and on the field," he said.
"We used to travel 250 days in a year and spent a lot of time together. He is like a God in India and it is easy to get carried away but he is grounded," said Laxman.
Laxman credited Tendulkar's family for his humility.
"He has been playing for more than two decades and we have never heard of any controversy involving him. His parents, brother and wife Anjali should be complimented for ensuring that he concentrated on cricket only," he said.
"It is very difficult to compare legends but Sachin is up there with the best batsman I have seen in my era," he said.
"I never thought that someone would play 200 Tests in his career but one thing I was sure that if someone can do this, it will be only Sachin. Nobody in the world will ever be able to repeat this feat," he said.
When asked which cricketing role will suit Tendulkar post retirement, Laxman said that he was sure that the Mumbaikar will keep contributing to Indian sports.