Every time India's second wicket has gone down, the crowd has greeted Sachin Tendulkar to the wicket with a standing ovation. It is said, it's an honour only Sir Donald Bradman received from cricket lovers in England.
For three Tests, English supporters have thronged the stadiums in the hope of getting to see Tendulkar bat in his full glory. The India batsman is one short of hundred international centuries and everyone thought it would be fitting if he got it at the home of cricket.
But, surprisingly, not much has gone right for the champion. Instead of being an inspiration, the talk of the hundredth hundred seems to have weighed him down. There’s no doubt that his lack of runs has pulled India down. In five innings, Tendulkar has managed just one half century.
Is it Pressure?
Former England batsman, Graeme Hick, who belongs to the select group to have achieved the landmark in first-class cricket, says: “Only Tendulkar will know how he feels. Possibly, there could be a build up of pressure in the fact that everyone’s talking about it.”
Hick, who got his first Test hundred at Tendulkar’s home turf, the Wankhede Stadium in 1993, believes it hasn’t been easy for the batsman given the form of the England bowlers.
“The England bowlers have been bowling very well. Tendulkar would have been more disappointed if he would have walked out and England didn’t have the bowlers of the quality they have, and he just got out. He has actually been got out here.
“Maybe, he walked out in the first Test a bit under-prepared, but he looked great in Nottingham in the second innings. It’s there… sometimes it’s just that form goes and hides in some funny corners. It may help him to look at the longer term and say ‘I will get the hundredth in the next two series’. It will help to take that pressure off him.”