Sachin Tendulkar’s long session at the practice ground in Eden Park drew to a close with tired club bowlers struggling to challenge the master. Obviously, whatever discomfort Tendulkar felt in taking a sharp, low catch to dismiss Tim McIntosh had been left behind and he struck the ball with customary ease.
The injury meant that Tendulkar was off the field when India completed the 10-wicket win, but fellow senior and good friend Rahul Dravid was. Tendulkar, Dravid, Virender Sehwag and VVS Laxman became the first set of Indians to have won Tests in all Test-playing nations, a source of pride to Tendulkar.
“It is good for us, it is better late than never,” Tendulkar said at an impromptu press conference on a day when no other player was amenable to the tour manager’s repeated pleas to address the media. “It is an exciting time for Indian cricket. This has been a fantastic tour so far and we are looking forward to the rest of the series.
“It has been quite satisfying,” Tendulkar continued. “We have been here on many tours earlier too, but it wasn’t so good. The Test victory is very special. We have been able to achieve Test victories wherever we have travelled in the last few years. I am glad we made it possible here as well.”
It was not long ago that India were poor travellers, losing even to weaker teams abroad. “We just needed to cop a break, and we got that break in Zimbabwe (2001). The break, and a Test win overseas, came after a long time. After that we went to the West Indies and won a Test there. We went to England, we won there. We went to South Africa, we won. We did that in Australia as well. Wherever we have travelled, we have created an impact. That is what the nation was looking for, we are glad we have done it.” When someone suggested that the team looked happy now, Tendulkar broke into a smile. “We have always been happy. It is probably a happier bunch now.”
On the IPL being moved out of India, Tendulkar said, “It is tough to spend time away from home, it would force us to spend probably 45 days away from the family,” he said. “It is always fun to play back home. The response we got last year was very truly special, so I am hoping for the same response wherever we play.