Sachin Tendulkar arrives for a practice session at the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai.
Not for the first time in his illustrious career, Sachin Tendulkar has hogged the limelight. To score a hundred centuries in international cricket was unthinkable a few years back, but Sachin has always believed in stretching the limits. This is an era where careers are getting shorter because of the proliferation of the limited-overs game, and for someone to play for as long as Sachin has done will require a monumental effort.
More than the 100 hundreds, which is a statistical marvel, what is amazing about Sachin is his enthusiasm and the manner in which he has conducted himself, on and off the field.
What stands out is also the manner in which he has handled the pressure of expectations and the adulation of a nation. People have come to expect the impossible from him every time. To his credit, Sachin has delivered more often than not. He has done so with dignity and quiet efficiency.
There wasn't much respect shown by the Pakistan batsmen to India's bowling in the Asia Cup on Sunday. All through the tournament, India's bowlers have struggled, and it was no different this time too. The India bowlers failed to defend 290 against Bangladesh in the previous match, and against Pakistan, they were again found wanting. The 20-over mentality is rapidly creeping into the psyche of our bowlers. India need an Irfan Pathan who can take wickets, not one who will merely complete his quota of 10 overs.
What is important is to identify wicket-taking bowlers and persist with them. One-day cricket is not about containing the batsmen. Too little emphasis is laid on taking wickets and too much stress is being placed on curbing the flow of runs.
Also, the over-reliance on bits-and-pieces bowlers has to go. The sight of non-regular bowlers sending down 8-10 overs in each match will only result in boosting the confidence of rival batsmen. And if the specialist bowlers don't do the job, how fair is it to expect the part-timers to deliver?
Hawkeye (The writer is a former India fast bowler)