KINGSTON (Jamaica):There seems no end to the list of Sachin Tendulkar admirers and the latest to laud the Indian batting icon is West Indian fast bowling great Courtney Walsh.
"For me, Sachin has been the number one Indian batsman. Sometimes he has challenged me and at other times I have done so and we were very competitive. When we catch up there is respect from both sides," stated Walsh, who took 519 wickets in 132 Tests, making him the fifth greatest wicket-taker of all time.
Only Muttiah Muralitharan (800 wickets), Shane Warne (708), Anil Kumble (619) and Glenn McGrath (563) have more wickets than Walsh in Test history.
Walsh was speaking on the occasion of a stand at Sabina Park being named after him on the opening day of the first Test on Monday.
Walsh sees a lot of good in modern-day cricket but feels most of them are not with West Indian cricket.
"Most changes are for good but in the West Indies team, consistency is not there, confidence is not there. There is potential and some are very good fast bowlers. We are working and I am sure we would be back soon," he said.
Even after playing for so long, Walsh believes he could have carried on a bit longer but wanted to make way for some promising fast bowlers.
"I left a little early. West Indies was touring Zimbabwe and I though it was time to move on, give youngsters a break.
"But those youngsters didn't come through and so I could have carried on a little longer," he said.
Walsh and Curtly Ambrose set up a deadly attack for the West Indies in the '90s and were the last great Caribbean fast bowlers to emerge from the region.
"We never competed against each other; we complimented each other. Our styles were different. We tried to do what the team required.
"I never sledged for it was important to maintain the spirit of the game. For me the ball did the talking," he said.
Walsh named Michael Holding, who also belongs to Jamaica, as his fast bowling idol.
"I watched him as a kid and later we together played for the same club, Jamaica and of course West Indies."