Retired South African all-rounder Jacques Kallis would not rate Sachin Tendulkar as the best batsman he has played against but said the Indian legend has "tremendously" helped in taking the game forward by playing with the right spirit throughout his illustrious career.
"He (Tendulkar) has done a tremendous amount for world cricket and for taking it forward. He played the game hard but always in the right spirit," Kallis said in the question and answer session as part of the Newlands 10th annual New Year's address here yesterday.
"To achieve what he (Tendulkar) achieved is incredible. I enjoyed my battles against him. I always said I will play this game hard but in the right spirit, that I can (leave aside) the game when I am in a country and have a beer with them. That's the way he played it (too)," Kallis, who retired from Test cricket last December, was quoted as saying in 'ESPNcricinfo'.
Kallis, one of the greatest all-rounders to have graced the game, however, picked West Indian Brian Lara as the best batsman he has ever played against.
Asked who are his toughest opponents, Kallis said, "Seamer: Wasim Akram. He had the ability to swing the ball both ways. Spinner: Shane Warne. He controlled the game, he attacked, defended. Batsman: Brian Lara."
The 39-year-old Kallis, who scored 13,289 runs and took 292 wickets from 166 Test matches, was also not unduly worried about the BCCI exercising most of the administrative and financial control in world cricket, saying the Indian Board had been doing so for some time.
"I don't think anyone really knows if it's a good or a bad thing. We are going to have to wait and see. If we are brutally honest, the BCCI has had a lot of power over the game for some time, so I don't think it is really going to change much.
"My only concern is that they make decision in the best interests of cricket and not only in the best interests of own cricket, and I think they will do that," said Kallis who plays for Kolkata Knight Riders in the cash-rich IPL.