SYDNEY, August 28: Sachin Tendulkar charmed the world's greatest ever batsman Sir Donald Bradman so much that the living legend described the Indian batsman as ``bonzer'', a colloquial term for an excellent and pleasant person.
Tendulkar, who was accompanied by champion leg-spinner Shane Warne during an hour-long private meeting with Sir Don at his residence in Adelaide yesterday, described his journey as a pilgrimage and admitted he was ``very nervous''. After Tendulkar had taken his leave, Sir Don said to his son John Bradsen, ``what a bonzer little fellow! He's a lovely chap''.
But there is no doubt, and Tendulkar conceded on his arrival in Adelaide, that the best compliment a cricketer could ever get was the one Sir Don showered on him a few years ago when he told an interviewer that the premier Indian batsman ``played much the same as I used to''.
Later speaking at a $125-a-head birthday party attended by over 1000 admirers to celebrate Sir Don's 90th birthday, Tendulkar said: ``I was very nervous. I didn't know what to ask the great man.''
``I have really enjoyed this afternoon with Sir Donald Bradman and I am very pleased that he spent about 45 minutes to an hour with me talking about cricket,'' said Tendulkar, who was keen to discuss his batting technique with the legend.
``Growing up as a kid, I am sure each and every kid in India knows who Sir Donald Bradman is and the same here for me. I must have heard his name probably the first time when I was may be five,'' Tendulkar said.
While admirers listened to stories about `The Don', strangely the only person not present at the celebrations was the publicity-shy Sir Don Bradman, who has led a life of seclusion since his retirement.
Tendulkar told the audience about how fame and adulation had robbed him of his privacy, but added ``people like me so much, the affection, the well wishes, that really helps me to perform well for the country, it inspires me.''