New Delhi: Australian great Adam Gilchrist feels Sachin Tendulkar has not overstayed in international cricket and is happy to see the master blaster calling time on his phenomenal career at home.
Tendulkar retires after playing his 200th Test against the West Indies starting Thursday.
"What Sachin has been contributing to that Indian team is special. It is not just about the runs," said Gilchrist at a promotional event at the Australian High Commission here on Tuesday.
"Ricky Ponting contributed well in his last few years for Australia by just being there in the dressing room, the learning and education he passed onto the youngsters. Sachin has been of the similar mindset. His commitment and professionalism would have had a great effect on the team. I am sure the likes of Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan will vouch for that."
Pakistan batting legend Javed Miandad recently said that Tendulkar overstayed, much like he did. "I think it [the retirement] has fallen perfectly with his 200th Test in Mumbai. I would say his timing as usual is class," said Gilchrist when asked whether Tendulkar should have retired after the high of winning the 2011 World Cup, a sentiment voiced by former Pakistan skipper Imran Khan.
Though 'Gilly' will not be at Wankhede for Tendulkar's swansong, he has seen the best of him from close quarters. "My best on-field memory of Tendulkar is when he got out cheaply against us in the 2003 World Cup final," joked the 41-year-old.
On a serious note, he recalled the Australian summer of 1999 when the hosts whitewashed India in the three-match Test series. "I remember the Boxing Day Test. It was dark, drizzly and cold. The ball was moving around. It was Brett Lee's debut game and he was all charged up, bowling at 150 kmph with success.
"We had India in trouble as it was often the case in the series but Sachin played a masterful knock and kept the fight going. It may not technically be his best knock, but after seeing that, I realised quickly he was true class," he said of Tendulkar's 116 in a lost cause.
It is difficult not to talk about the 'Monkeygate' scandal of 2008 with Gilchrist, who along with Ponting questioned Tendulkar's role in the matter concerning Andrew Symonds and Harbhajan Singh. "You can't change what happened but I hope it doesn't affect the rivalry of both teams," concluded Gilchrist.