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‘I don’t play to prove anything’

Tendulkar is a one-man army and if he gets going, the others’ going gets tough. The Master Blaster is enjoying cricket and IPL at the moment. And this is what he said as a parting shot: “I don’t play cricket to prove anything to anyone, I play because I enjoy the game."

cricket Updated: Apr 12, 2010 23:59 IST
HT Correspondent

Spectators at the Sawai Man Singh Stadium on Sunday were treated to a Sachin Tendulkar special. The Little Master hammered a 59-ball 89, his best in IPL so far, and with it he climbed to the top of this year’s leading run-scorer’s list. Don’t forget, his blitzkrieg ended the Rajasthan Royals’ home-win record in Jaipur and the Mumbai Indians became the first team to qualify for the semis.

While it was just another signature Tendulkar innings, the secret of Mumbai’s victory lay elsewhere. Enunciating the team spirit and difference in mindset, Tendulkar said: “(In the) first two seasons, we didn’t have our full squad. First season, Malinga didn’t play, I didn’t play the first seven games and in the second season, Zaheer Khan was not available along with a few other key batsmen. This season, we have a full strength (squad). We are still missing Abhishek Nayar, who’s injured, but it’s been quite good so far.”

Just like Shane Warne, who likes to promote homegrown talent, Tendulkar, too, has pushed the domestic players to perform in the tournament. Be it Saurabh Tiwary, Shikhar Dhawan, Rajagopal Sathish or Ambati Rayudu, each one has delivered for the team.

Mumbai pacer Dhawal Kulkarni, who got a look-in on Sunday, responded with the wicket of Michael Lumb in his first over. But the squad looks too much dependent on Tendulkar. Had the Mumbai skipper not shown enough presence of mind to slow down and then go for the kill in the last five overs, that fetched 68 runs, the result would have been different.

But Tendulkar backed his players saying, “I think in this format, some day you click and sometimes you don’t. When you are improvising so much, it’s difficult to be consistent. But I am hoping when it’s needed the most, the batsmen will fire. They are all talented cricketers and at some stage they will come good. And I hope it’s in the semis.”

Tendulkar is a one-man army and if he gets going, the others’ going gets tough. The Master Blaster is enjoying cricket and IPL at the moment. And this is what he said as a parting shot: “I don’t play cricket to prove anything to anyone, I play because I enjoy the game. I am happy to contribute to my team’s victory.”