Kolkata, Nov 4: As a Sachin Tendulkar mania sweeps Kolkata, West Indies operations manager and former skipper Richie Richardson says the little master deserves all the adulation, but that will not affect his focus once he enters the field.
Describing Tendulkar, who plays the 199th and penultimate Test match of his career at Eden Gardens beginning Nov 6, Richardson said: “He has been a great ambassador of the game. He deserves every bit of adulation and celebrations surrounding him. But once he enters the field, the celebrations will not affect his focus.”
Tendulkar will be retiring after the second and the last Test – his 200th – at Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai, Nov 14-18.
Richardson said Tendulkar was a great both as a sportsperson and a human being.
“It is difficult to express in words Tendulkar’s contribution to cricket and humanity. What I like most about him is he is humble despite his achievements, and always smiling,” said Richardson after Windies’ practice session at the Eden Gardens.
“He is a great human being. You do often find somebody who is great at sports, but may be he is not equally great as a person. But Sachin is blessed to be both. People admire him forever,” he said.
Richardson said the Caribbeans were happy to be a party in the final two matches of Tendulkar’s Test career. “But at the same time we are here to play, to compete and to win.”
He praised the Indian team, and said the visitors needed to work hard to make a mark in the two Test series.
“India are playing very well at the moment. They have some very good players, and they will come hard at us. We will have to work hard, but we will be pretty competitive,” he said.
Richardson listed dashing opener Chris Gayle, middle order batsmen Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Marlon Samuels, pacer Kemar Roach and offie Shane Shillingford as the players to look out for in his side.