Tendulkar is by far the best batsman of his era : Lara

New Delhi, Jan 18 (PTI) Sachin Tendulkar is by far thebest batsman of his era, according to West Indies'' battinglegend Brian Lara who said it was an "honour" to rub shoulderswith the champion Indian batsman during his playing days.

"Tendulkar is the best batsman of the world," Lara saidon the sidelines of a cricket clinic at the Feroz Shah KotlaStadium here today.

Asked if it was Tendulkar or Don Bradman, Lara added,"Respect his average (of 99.96) but haven''t seen the Donbatting. And making comparison is very difficult for all ofus."

"It''s an honour to be talked about in the same breath,and to have rubbed shoulders with him during my playing days,"There is no superlative for Sachin," Lara said.

For over a decade, the world watched in awe as Tendulkarand Lara rewrote records after records.

Asked if an Indian victory in the upcoming World Cupwould make Tendulkar bigger than him, Lara said, "It doesn''treally matter. The records he has set, I don''t think they aregoing to be surpassed."

Lara also believed that Tendulkar could one day surpassthe West Indian''s world record Test score of 400 not out. "Itwill soon be broken. I think Sachin is there, and there isSehwag, Gayle; they may have the opportunities and they areall very attacking players. The top three in the batting orderhave the best chance," Lara said.

With cricket becoming more and more competitive, Larasaid that the era of invincibility doesn''t exist anymore.

"You can''t really tell who is number one now," he said.

"Ashes shows every country will have their time. It''sgoing to be very competitive."

"Sports is a cycle. West Indies had their team, we werean invincible team once. Then Australia dominated for a longwhile. Now, the time of invincibility has gone," the stylishleft-hander said.

Lara was full of praise for the current Indian team,ranked number one in Tests and two in ODIs.

"Indians are producing results we were not accustomed to.

They have been on the top of their game, they will be a verytough team to beat (in the World Cup). They have awell-balanced team that can compete with anyone in the world,"he said.

Talking about India''s tradition of producing qualitybatsmen, Lara said, "India batting has always been very good.

The likes of (Mohammad) Azharuddin, Ravi Shastri, Navjot Singh(Siddhu), (Sanjay) Manjrekar, there were also world classbatsmen, and Sachin was also there." PTI AH MRM

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