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Tendulkar continues to be a class apart

The disappointment of not being in the WC subsides, but Sachin is still one of the class acts, writes Glenn Mcgrath.

cricket Updated: Apr 08, 2007 19:55 IST

The tournament now moves into the third phase, with two teams Australia and New Zealand strongly placed to make the semis. The remaining positions are a little less clear, with Sri Lanka, South Africa and England still fighting it out, and West Indies just about hanging in there.

Plenty of cricket news is also coming in from Mumbai, with Greg Chappell deciding not to continue as coach. My friend Sachin Tendulkar is also coming in for some flak for not bailing out his team when they needed his talent and experience to take them into the Super Eights.

However, when the anger and disappointment of not being in the World Cup subsides, everybody will realise that Sachin is still one of the class acts in world cricket.

There are few players that spectators pay to come and see, and guys like Brian Lara and Sachin belong to that rare class of cricketers. Retirement is something you have to decide for yourself. Earlier, when teammates like Steve Waugh and Ian Healy said that you know when your time is up, I did not know what they were talking about.

However, I now know what that means because as I play my last few games for Australia, I am enjoying my time in the field, but I am also looking forward to life beyond cricket.

I feel that my life has been put on hold by the game I love so dearly, so while I will miss the challenge and confrontation that comes with pace bowling, I know that I am also looking forward to reclaiming my life, and my time with my family.

A similar feeling will strike Sachin, too, sooner or later, but it has to come from within him. He is a player who knows himself better than anybody else, so if he feels there is some motivation and desire to play left in him, he should play.

Meanwhile, there is plenty of cricket left in the World Cup, with the Ashes confrontation up next. We are confident that England, who have won their last three games against us, will find a fresher and more relaxed Australian team facing them this time.

Those defeats came after a grueling and incredibly successful summer of cricket. We will be meeting them now after a weeklong break, and there will be more pressure on them because they have to win three of the next four games if they are to make the semis.

England have a few potential match-winners, but somehow, they tend to fall short. Their bowling is looking better these days with Monty Panesar providing some breakthroughs in the middle overs. However, they still have trouble bowling at the death, and the extra runs they give in the last five overs are what cost England quite a few games.

This will probably be my last game against England, a side that I have always loved bowling against. Right now, their top order has not been doing too well and they have been bailed out by Pietersen and Collingwood.

A few early breakthroughs tomorrow will not only ensure that we will be in a good position to continue our winning streak, it will also be a great way to say farewell to the Poms!