We have been good friends for a while — even if it’s not so friendly when we are out in the middle — and one of the pleasures of playing in the IPL has been the chance to spend a little time with him.
As I look back on my career, Sachin is the opponent I have most admited, because of the seemingly effortless way he deals with the pressure of a billion people hanging on his every move. He never puts a toe out of line off the field, and never queries an umpire’s decision on it.
As a batsman, Sachin was consistently the most awkward opponent because he made so few mistakes and always had a clear game plan against me.
The years I have had playing against Sachin in the Indian Premier League have been a fantastic bonus. And winning the title in the first season — with what I believe was the least expensive squad in the tournament — is something I will always cherish.
The one thing I would like to see is all the national boards allocating a six-week break in the calendar for the IPL. I really believe the tournament is good for cricket. It breaks down the barriers between the players when you get to line up alongside people from other countries. Although the downside is that nobody seems to sledge any more!