‘He reminds me of me’: Tendulkar on Labuschagne
INDIAN icon Sachin Tendulkar has paid Marnus Labuschagne the ultimate compliment, likening the skill of the in-form Australian to his own composed batsmanship.
Labuschagne has gone from strength to strength over the past year, climbing some 107 places on the Test batting rankings to sit third behind superstars Virat Kohli and Steve Smith.
There has been a chorus of praise for Labuschagne, with Kohli suggesting last month the 25-year-old had the mindset to be "top player in the world for a while".
Tendulkar, having landed in Australia for Sunday's bushfire relief game in Melbourne, has now delivered perhaps the most eye-catching acclaim yet.
India's greatest-ever cricketer, who scored 51 tons and some 15,921 runs in a decorated Test career, was stunned by Labuschagne's performance on Ashes debut as a concussion substitute at Lord's and subsequently charted the right-hander's rapid rise with interest.
"His footwork was incredible, so he would be the one I would say," Tendulkar replied at the SCG on Friday when asked whether any modern-day player reminded him of himself.
"I saw Marnus getting hit (on the helmet by) the second ball he faced from Jofra Archer and post that, the 15 minutes he batted I said, 'This player looks special, there is something about him.'
"His footwork was precise and footwork is not physical, it's mental. If you're not thinking positively in your mind then your feet don't move. So that clearly indicated to me that this guy is mentally strong."
Don Bradman famously said he saw a bit of himself in Tendulkar, who captured the admiration of Australian players and fans by scoring an unbeaten Test century as an 18-year-old at the SCG in 1992.
Tendulkar made the point he was not a big fan of comparisons but answered honestly when asked whether he would pick Kohli or Smith first in an XI.
"Let an Indian pick an Indian guy," Tendulkar said with smile.
"I'll leave Smith to be in the other side. Virat has been my friend.
"They're entertaining the entire cricketing world and it's a joy to watch both."
Tendulkar described Smith as a "special player".
"He's proven that on a consistent basis," he said.
"His mindset - he's so organised. The technique is not something you see commonly, it's different, but he knows how to adjust."
Tendulkar said the addition of a Test championship, in which India and Australia are currently on track to meet in a Lord's final next year, was a "fantastic initiative", but he harboured some concerns about day-night Tests.
"I'm not too sure how the dew factor is going to play its part (in India). It could be a spoilsport," he said.
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