Brisbane, Mar 6: Sachin Tendulkar has hailed the ‘fantastic job’ done by India's young players in ensuring the team's triumph in the tri-series against Australia, but has underlined the contributions of players who have been around for 7 or 8 years.
The master batsman, whose unbeaten 117 and 91 in the two finals against Australia was the key to the victories, also cautioned against getting too euphoric about the triumph, saying the team has to take gradual steps towards becoming the world's best side.
"It's important we take gradual steps. So far the youngsters have done a fantastic job," he said after the thrilling nine-run win over Australia that gave India their maiden tri-series win Down Under.
"This young team has done very well but if you look at cricketers who have been around for seven-eight years, they have contributed in a big manner as well," he added.
Tendulkar also downplayed his individual contribution to the team's win and said the triumph was a collective effort. "I don't want to speak about my performance but my feeling is everyone has done an excellent job," he said.
Tendulkar termed the win as the second biggest for Indian cricket after the World Cup. "Other than the World Cup, for me this is the greatest win. Everyone in the team, including the coaching and support staff, need to be complimented for having done an excellent job," he said.
Although busy celebrating, a few other members of the team also spoke about the nerve-wracking final that went right down to the wire. All-rounder Irfan Pathan talked at length about the final over which he was asked to deliver.
"Mahi (Mahendra Singh Dhoni), after the first two balls, told me not to worry: you are not as bad a bowler that you would be hit for three fours in as many balls," he said.
"That gave me the confidence. I had gone for cheap runs in the game but it wasn't for bad bowling. Some were overthrows, some streaky boundaries and all that, but my rhythm was good and I was able to swing the deliveries," he added.
Opener on the day, Robin Uthappa was over the moon and claimed that the coming few years are going to be the best for Indian cricket.
"I was watching the game at home and heard Ricky Ponting say that they would wallop India by 4-0 and that Australia would have a cakewalk in ODIs. Well, they didn't," he quipped.
"It got me going. It's been a good young side which has shown a lot of energy in the field," he added. Uthappa himself played a part in India's solid foundation in both the finals where he put on 50 and 94 runs for the first wicket with the irrepressible Tendulkar.