Dubai: Sachin Tendulkar has some fond memories of playing alongside the legends of the 1980s in the 1992 World Cup but is still disappointed at missing out playing against his hero Vivian Richards. Tendulkar recalled his progress from a ball boy in the 1987 World Cup to playing against the best players of that era in the next World Cup.
"I remember in 1987, I was a ball boy so it was a big transformation for me from being a ball boy to participating in the next World Cup. I still remember the group picture of teams in Sydney. It was followed by a dinner at the Darling Harbour. It was an unbelievable experience with all the top players from the world in the room," the modern-day batting icon said.
Tendulkar, who entered the 1992 World Cup as a teenager, scored 283 runs at an average of just over 47 and was man of the match in India's only two victories over Pakistan by 43 runs and Zimbabwe by 55 runs. Tendulkar said it was "special" to play against some big names such as Ian Botham, Graham Gooch, Kepler Wessels, Imran Khan, Javed Miandad, Wasim Akram, Desmond Haynes, Richie Richardson, Malcolm Marshall and Curtly Ambrose.
However, he regrets not getting a game against the West Indies legend Vivian Richards.
"I was quite disappointed that Vivian Richards was not part of the West Indies squad. He was (and still is) my hero, so it was disappointing that I could not play against him," he said.
Tendulkar also said that the 1992 World Cup introduced a number of newcomers to the world who went on to become household names and great ambassadors for the game.
"I have to say Allan Donald was a big name then. Everyone spoke about how good he was. Then there was Jonty Rhodes. His run out of Inzamam-ul-Haq was one of the highlights of the World Cup. Not many guys have seen a run out like that!. I remember a new trend started in the tournament of opening the bowling with spin in the form of Dipak Patel. I dont think it had happened earlier. I thought these were the guys who really made an impact. To play against them was always a wonderful challenge, which I enjoyed," he said.
As a player who has played in three different decades, Tendulkar considered himself lucky to have been pitted his skills against the great all-rounders of the 1980s.
Tendulkar said it was an amazing experiece to play against the top players, the game has ever seen.
"There were some real big names and some of the worlds top all-rounders. One thing I feel happy about is that I played against all of them: Richard Hadlee, Malcolm Marshall, Clive Rice, Kapil Dev, Imran Khan and Ian Botham. They were the best all-rounders the game had produced. Having been able to play against them I consider myself very fortunate. It was quite an experience to play those top guys," he said.