It was a bit hard to assess the mood in the Mumbai Indians camp, but they must surely be fighting the temptation to rest Sachin Tendulkar for the Champions League Twenty20 semifinal against Trinidad and Tobago on Saturday.
Tendulkar hasn’t been in touch as his 15, 5 and 0 so far in the tournament would testify, but there is a unanimous feeling among the organisers that a capacity crowd expected on Saturday at the Ferozeshah Kotla is mainly because of him.
The batsman is on the final leg of his great career and his T20 run will anyway end at this ground, with the final scheduled on Sunday.
So, fans don’t want to miss out just in case Saturday’s game turns out to be his last. And maybe, the MI management want to keep him, take a chance and hope the rest annihilate the opposition.
But that will be a difficult task as the T&T bowling attack has been the best in the competition. The trio of Samuel Badree, mystery spinner Sunil Narine and Ravi Rampaul, all part of West Indies’ World T20 winning side, can take charge of over half the quota of overs without giving away much.
MI coach John Wright gave enough hints that Tendulkar will play. “He is just enjoying his cricket. He is in good touch. His experience is important,” he said.
However, MI will bank a lot on burly Trinidadian all-rounder Kieron Pollard. “(Skipper) Denesh Ramdin’s men know my game well, but I know theirs too,” he said.