Freddie's glowing tribute

“The one he scored in Chennai after the 26/11 attack in Mumbai,” the 33-year-old former England all-rounder told reporters when asked about the best century scored by the champion batsman in Test cricket.

“We flew back and it was decided that we will play in Chennai. England were in a great position. And we thought we are going to win the Test match. But Sachin had other ideas. He scored a hundred. I am never good at losing. However, at that instance it was fitting that Sachin, who was from Mumbai, hit the winning runs,” he said.

“The best thing is after the game he thanked each and every one of the English players for coming back to India. That was quite a poignant moment for me and rest of the boys,” he said after interacting with aspiring cricketers here at a promotional event.

The English team returned home midway through the seven-match one-day series following the three-day terrorist siege of Mumbai, before retuning to India to resume the tour and play in the Test series.

Saluting Tendulkar’s longevity in the game, Flintoff wished the batsman many more years of international cricket ahead.

“He’s an amazing man and a successful player. To play for as long as he has and to score as many runs as he has is amazing. He is somebody I have come to respect. I remember I had come to play for Lancashire under-13 and he was making his Test debut! He was only four years older than me. But he has been playing since then.

“I wanted to get him out. I wanted to impress him, get his respect. Good luck to him. Hope he doesn’t stop at 50 (centuries) and goes on and on and on. He’s been a good ambassador for the game,” he added.

On Tendulkar’s comparison with Sir Don Bradman, Flintoff said, “I never played against Bradman. I don’t know. It is wrong in sport to compare heroes. In modern day cricket, Sachin is the best.”

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