From suggesting definitive ways to improving support for Test cricket to preparing Indian players for overseas tours, Sachin Tendulkar provided incisive comments at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit on Saturday. Here are his best 10 quotes:
On Test cricket struggling:
I don’t think it (Test cricket) is dying. The mindset of the people is changing. There are not enough rivalries now.
Test cricket primacy in the past:
It was the rivalries... When Imran Khan was bowling to Sunil Gavaskar, our coach would take us aside and say ‘this is how back-foot defence should be played’. Then there was was Jeff Thomson and Viv Richards, Brian Lara and Glenn McGrath. They were engaging rivalries.
On fearing Hansie Cronje:
Hansie Cronje was the toughest bowler I have faced. He was tricky to play. Even when I am set, when I see Hansie coming in to bowl I used to tell myself, anybody but him. And he has got me out a few times too.
Great West Indies and Australia sides:
The West Indies in the 1980s and 1990s was a magical side. Then came Australia. They played incredible cricket. They had nine world class players, and two other very good players. Even if four or five guys click, they would win the game.
On successfully attacking Glenn McGrath :
That was done strategically… Sourav (Ganguly, the skipper) and I were walking out to bat….After the first over I told him if I played like this McGrath would finish with 8-5-6-4. We need to disturb, not just his bowling but also disturb him mentally.
On cricket undergoing change:
Rivalries took place because the game was engaging, the pitch was more bowler-friendly… The current generation is watching something else…to avoid that, you need surfaces that allows fair competition.
On need for back-to-back series:
Two years ago, we played in England. They have lost a couple of players (who were there). A couple of our players has changed. A fair contest will be to play back-to-back series. Then home and away contests become fair. Then everything remains the same… That way interest in the England-India series will be there.
On Virat Kohli’s Test team:
They remind me of what we did from 2000 to 2010. (Virender) Sehwag, Rahul (Dravid) at No 3, me, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman. It (the current side) will always be the best, soon rest of the world will also rate them as the best. It is a very balanced side.
Revolutionising domestic cricket:
When you start a match (first innings), play on a green top. The openers, you are giving them practice (to play abroad). The second string, they must know how the Kookaburra moves, swings.
In the second innings, move to a turning track… Then there will be balance between batsmen and bowlers. Play with the SG ball in the second innings. On less helpful tracks, SG will reverse. Basically it will make sure toss doesn’t decide. It will give only 10% advantage.
On advising Sehwag:
With Sehwag, it was a roller-coaster ride. Once he blocked and got out. He was upset when he got to the dressing room. I should have blocked, he said. But by then I know, whatever I said, he will think the opposite. So I told him ‘you should have hit over cover for a six’. Immediately, he said ‘I should have left it alone.’ And that is what I wanted!