Kolkata: His highest score record lay in tatters when Sachin Tendulkar became the only batsman to hit a double ton in ODIs and Pakistan batsman Saheed Anwar feels the little master deserved the feat more than anybody else.
"Nobody else deserves to get there. It's only Sachin who deserves to scale that peak. 200 is a big score in one-day cricket. It's not easy to get there," Anwar told PTI from Quetta in Pakistan.
"It took him 20 long years to get there. He has come a long way. It's Sachin's greatness," he added.
The man who held the previous ODI best of 194 spoke about the Indian master.
Anwar and Zimbabwean Charles Coventry had jointly held the record of highest ODI score before Tendulkar rewrote history, eclipsing his 194 en route his double century against South Africa on Wednesday.
Anwar said it was the dedication and modesty of Tendulkar that helped him to break the record and he was happy for him.
"He is a man of dedication and modesty, so God has been kind to him. Records are meant to be broken. I heard somebody equalled my record sometime ago. But I did not know him (Coventry). It's great that my friend from Mumbai Sachin broke it. I am very happy for him," said Anwar.
Asked whether the 200 unbeaten by Tendulkar will remain a record forever, he said, "Mathew Hayden had scored 380 (in Test cricket) and Brian Lara broke it. You never know. Records are meant to be broken.
Asked if Tendulkar is the best cricketer of all time, Anwar said there should not be any comparison.
"He is among the best cricketers. He is one of the best.
It's difficult to say he is the best. There have been great cricketers like Sir Gary Sobers, Sir Viv Richards, Brian Lara and Ricky Ponting. You should not compare one with another.
Everybody is great in some aspects," he said.
It was during the 2003 World Cup that he had a small talk with Tendulkar and Anwar said he still remembers what he had said to the Master batsman.
"I had met him last during the World Cup (in 2003), we spoke about fitness level. I had told him if he maintains his level of fitness, he can achieve anything. Sky is the limit," Anwar said.
Walking down memory lane, Anwar recalled his gruelling 194 against India in the Independence Cup in Chennai in 1997, an innings that had made him dehydrated as he had to get a runner.
"It was very tough getting there, it was tough and tiring. For me, it was very special considering the fact that I had scored it in an India-Pakistan match. There is always a lot of pressure involving both the arch-rivals," he said.
A swashbuckling opener in his playing days, Anwar could have been an asset in Twenty20 games but Anwar said he doesn't regret not playing cricket again.
"I don't miss playing cricket or Twenty20 for that. There are no regrets. I am a satisfied and content_cn person and happy for what I am doing," said Anwar, who quit ODI after 2003 World Cup and retired from cricket in the same year after being dropped from the squad for Sharjah tournament.
Anwar said Twenty20 format can help in globalisation of world cricket.
"It's a lot of entertaining, an ideal form to promote cricket all over the world. In this way cricket can reach countries like America and some European countries where there is less popularity of the sport.