New Delhi: Playing for one last time together in a cricket match, albeit for different teams in the Champions League Twenty20 summit clash here, Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid Sunday heaped encomiums on each other with the latter saying that his long time former India team-mate had inspired him to strive for excellence in the game.
Tendulkar's final T20 act and Dravid's last hurrah in competitive cricket were the talking points at the Feroze Shah Kotla here as the two legends got together though in the colours of Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals. The two legendary batsmen had announced that this would be their final Twenty20 season.
"Even though Tendulkar is of my age or two months younger to me, he is seven years senior to me as an international cricketer. When I came into the Indian team, in my third Test, Tendulkar was India captain. He was someone you would look upto as a young cricketer growing up. You saw this young kid do amazing things across the world. It was sort of inspitation for all of us playing first-class cricket," Dravid said before the start of the CLT20 finale.
"It was like, look if this guy can do it, we can also try to do it. The opportunity to try and share a dressing room with him, that was a huge motivation. For me to be on that England trip for the first time and share a dressing with him was a huge trip," said Dravid.
The 40-year-old Dravid had retired from international cricket at the beginning of 2012 while Tendulkar, who retired from One-Day International cricket last December, is in the twilight of his Test career. Together they have scored close to 92,000 runs in all formats of the game.
Tendulkar, who is also 40, returned the compliments, by describing Dravid as the "master technician". "Absolutely, he is a master technician. Any day in my team, he will be number three, because there were so many innings in which he batted brilliantly. When the rest of the guys found it difficult, he was comfortable. He loved challenges and I knew we could bank on Rahul at the times of difficulty."