Sachin Tendulkar’s 40th One-day International (ODI) century on his return to international cricket from an injury has sent an ominous warning to Australia before its match with India on Saturday (today) in the tri-series tournament.
After the masterly knock of 141 not out against the West Indies on Thursday, Tendulkar declared that his shoulder is fully repaired after the surgery in March that kept him out of international cricket for more than six months. “I am feeling absolutely fine and as far as playing shots (is concerned), there hasn’t been any difficulty at all,” said Tendulkar after hitting 13 fours and five sixes in his 148-ball knock.
Tendulkar’s knock was achieved on a wicket marked with a depression on a good length that cost captain Rahul Dravid, Virender Sehwag and Mahendra Singh Dhoni their wickets by keeping the ball low. The Australia-India encounter will be played on an adjacent pitch at the Kinrara Oval, which is hosting the tri-series for the first time. Thursday’s match was abandoned due to rain when the West Indies were 141 for 2 in reply to India’s 309 for five in 50 overs. Because of their higher run rate, the West Indies were declared winners by 29 runs under the Duckworth-Lewis method.
Tendulkar, the one-day game’s highest scorer with 14,289 runs, said he was disappointed by the rain-determined result. But the team needs to put the result behind it and look ahead at the crucial clash with Australia, he said. “We are looking forward to it and it should be an exciting game,” he said. It will be the first Australia-India clash since the Australian Greg Chappell took over as India’s coach last year, and created a confident, resurgent team.
Australian fast bowler Stuart Clark said Tendulkar, Sehwag and Dravid are his main concerns. “He (Tendulkar) is one of the very best players in the world if not arguably the best,” he said. “Any time you can put your skills up against his it’s a real challenge. It’s a great thrill to play against him and hopefully I can get him out as well,” he added.
Australia has been boosted by the return of paceman Glenn McGrath after a long absence. Asked if he is eager to face McGrath, Tendulkar said: “I don’t look at it as a battle between individuals. It is a cricket match between India and Australia. Other 20 players will also be participating,” he said. Still, to play McGrath “will be a challenge. To play a world class bowler like him is not going to be easy. One has to be on (one’s) toes,” he said.
Tendulkar’s return to top form is a reflection of his hard work on physical fitness and determination to prove his critics wrong, especially after he was booed by his home crowd in Mumbai after a disappointing performance last year. “You got to keep fighting and be mentally strong. I have done that. I am happy about it,” he said, adding that he was proud to have batted through 50 overs on Thursday, only the second time in his 364 ODI match career. “It is a good habit and I hope I build this habit,” he said.
To the 33-year-old batting legend there is no greater satisfaction than being with the Indian team and out on the pitch. “Cricket has been my life. Let’s be honest here. I am living a dream. Every time I go out in the field there is lot of enthusiasm and a lot of excitement and I just want to continue with that,” he said. “If I find it a burden then I would know when to step back and step aside and say it’s the end. But I am enjoying it so I want to continue like this,” he added.
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Post InfoThis entry was posted on Saturday, September 16th, 2006 and is filed under General.
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