Thursday, July 14, 2011

Beware of Tendulkar, say ex-England captains

By Mail Today Correspondent in New Delhi

Sachin Tendulkar has been in scintillating form for the past few seasons and even after 22 years on the road in international cricket, former England captains Michael Vaughan, Nasser Hussain, Mike Atherton and Graham Gooch feel the talismanic batsman will pose the biggest threat to the Englishmen in the much anticipated Test series that begins next week at Lord's.

"Sachin's a different player now from 2007; the best players in the world change little things about themselves to keep themselves in the game."

"In the last two years he's become more aggressive, he's gone back to his old way of trying to score when for a period he tried to survive," Vaughan told The Cricketer magazine.

"Chris Tremlett bowled well against him in 2007 and he's a miles better bowler now. But Sachin doesn't have any weaknesses although every batsman is vulnerable on and around the off stump early on. England might go aggressive at him, test him with a few short balls, I've seen people do that over the last two years and it hasn't affected him," Vaughan added."

Hussain, on his part, felt that Tendulkar has managed to rediscover his aggressive instincts, even after two decades of international cricket.

"Technically and mentally Sachin has changed little over the years but he has changed his game plan."

"He began as a flamboyant, extravagant stroke- maker who had all the shots and simply loved the game. Once the records and the hundreds started to be racked up, he turned into a run- machine."

"The Indian public became driven by his stats and consumed by a Sachin infatuation."

"His priority was his wicket. Once Sehwag arrived, he was happy to let him tee off."

"In the last couple of years he has rediscovered his flamboyance and is playing shots again," Hussain said.

Another England captain and astute batsman, Atherton, recounted how dropping Tendulkar proved to be an expensive and unforgettable experience.

"I dropped him in the gully at Trent Bridge (in 1996) and he went on to get a big hundred."

"He's not a man you want to put down early on. He was calm at the crease, difficult to get out of his bubble."

"There weren't any flaws. He was just a very solid, orthodox player."

"One of the most remarkable things is that he has hardly changed at all, exactly the same set- up, very few changes to his method. He's trusted in his technique and power all this time." "He's stayed true to his game."

Gooch, who saw the Mumbai batsman blossom as a youngster, said: "No one had ever seen him in 1990. As a 17-year-old it was evident that the lad had great skill, great balance, great timing, an eye for the ball."

"You could see he had all the attributes to make a top player."

For one so young he had a poise and composure about his batting."

"You don't often get that in young players; you get the talent and the stroke-making but poise, authority and composure normally come."


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