London:Sachin Tendulkar is a great batsman but to suggest he is the best ever is demeaning to those former greats who survived the bodyline series and stood at the crease without any modern-day safety gears, feels former England skipper Mike Atherton.
"To suggest that Tendulkar - or, indeed, any modern, armoured or, to use (Viv) Richards's phrase, "pampered" player - is the best ever is demeaning to those former greats who stood at the crease in the knowledge that their next ball could be their last," Artherton wrote in 'The Times'.
Atherton feels modern-day protections have made life easier for current batsmen compared to yesteryears and so it remains to be seen how Tendulkar's career would have shaped up if these gears were not available.
"Images of Tendulkar have adorned newspapers and websites throughout the week. Images, mostly, of the 'Little Master' at the crease, compact and balanced. So compact and balanced, in fact, that Bradman said Tendulkar was the modern player whose method most closely resembled his own.
"There was, though, one crucial difference, which the image of Tendulkar on these pages on Monday highlighted. Perched on top of Tendulkar's head ... was a bright blue helmet and a grille to protect his features.
"Tendulkar was batting in a one-day game, but had the image been of him batting in whites, there is a good chance that, along with a helmet, Tendulkar would have been wearing an arm guard and a chest guard, too. He is always amply protected," he wrote.