Mumbai: Former skipper Rahul Dravid has said that Indian batting legend Sachin Tendulkar was the first Indian to dominate the fast bowlers and had set a benchmark for the youngsters to take on the quickies.
"I think Sachin was the first great dominating batsman against fast bowling. We had a generation earlier of Sunil Gavaskar, G R Viswanath, whom we grew up idolising, and Sachin did as well. We had some great fast bowlers in 80s and 90s and Gavaskar had a phenomenal record against them. But what Sachin brought was dominance to fast bowling," Dravid said.
"Gavaskar was a slightly more defensive batsman, if I may say that, but Sachin had grown up in a different era and had someone like Viv Richards as his idol, especially when he first batted in the 90s. The way he dominated fast bowling and the way he took on fast bowling was something that was unique and different," Dravid said at the annual ESPN cricinfo awards here last night.
"A lot of Indian batsmen were not necessarily known to do that. I think he set the benchmark for a lot of young players like Virender Sehwag."
Dravid said Tendulkar's presence in the dressing room not only served as a great inspiration to the upcoming players but drove them to work even harder to earn his respect.
"He was the kind of player whose respect you wanted to earn. I remember 'Sportstar' used to interview players and they would ask who were the cricketers of the future. We were playing the Test series in England and we were in Cambridge and somebody gave me this magazine and it had Tendulkar's interview. I quickly turned to the interview and saw
cricketers of the future and he had mentioned Rahul Dravid. I felt so happy," he said.
"It was after the Lord's Test match...he did make me score 95 runs before I earned it," recalled Dravid.
"That is the kind of impact he had on you as a youngster coming into that side. Not only because he was going to be the captain and he was a senior player in the side, but because he was a great player and he had already done so much that you wanted him to get that nod of approval. And that was a huge inspiration for a lot of cricketers in that generation," the 41-year-old said.