Sachin Tendulkar has expressed confidence that the Indian team will put up a good show on the forthcoming tour of South Africa.
Speaking after signing a three-year deal as the brand ambassador of Canon, Tendulkar insisted the Indian team would bounce back from its recent poor run. “Building up momentum is very important,” he said. “And we can always come back after reversals, as we did during the 2003 World Cup in South Africa.”
After failing to reach the final of the DLF Cup tri-series in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, India also failed to make the last four in the Champions Trophy on home soil. “No doubt it (Champions Trophy campaign) was disappointing,” he said. “But it wasn’t frustrating. I keep reminding people of what happened in 2003,” Tendulkar added.
“The team had a bad tour of New Zealand prior to the World Cup. Then, in our first warm-up game, we lost badly to a second-rung Natal A team. But we ended up beating all the teams in the tournament except Australia.”
Tendulkar said the two matches India lost in the Champions Trophy (against Australia and West Indies) were “close” affairs. “Had we made 10 more runs against the West Indies, it would have made a huge difference,” he said.
The West Indies defeated India with two balls to spare in a nail-biter in Ahmedabad on October 26, which was followed by their debacle against eventual champions Australia in a do-or-die game in Mohali.
Acknowledging that Australia are “undoubtedly the number one team in the world” Tendulkar said: “They excel as a team.”
However, despite losing to Australia, Tendulkar had only good things to say about the bouncy pitch in Mohali. “It was a good wicket,” he said. “We need to play more on such wickets. I had said this even in 1996.”
On a separate note, Tendulkar refused to accept that the Indian players are reluctant to play in the domestic tournaments. “We returned from Malaysia and played in the Challenger Series prior to the Champions Trophy,” he said.
“Those who don’t want to notice these things forget this. I played in a Ranji tie immediately after returning from New Zealand, which is a long way off from India, and was half asleep while fielding!”
Asked to comment on the Indian Board asking four international players to skip the ongoing Duleep Trophy tie, between East and North Zone, for an advertising shoot Tendulkar said: “I haven’t heard of it.”