Could Tendulkar have won us the Cup?
No. With or without Chappell, a player with great attitude has an average record, writes Atul Sondhi.cricket Updated: Apr 06, 2007 23:40 IST
Tendulkar has apologised for the World Cup debacle. So what if it has come more than a week after India's ejection from the biggest stage of them all. The very fact that he has chosen to apologise, shows concern for the paying public. A public which pays in terms of time and money to watch their heroes play, in the hope that they will win.
Tendulkar is a great player no doubt. But with little more luck, could he have really won the World Cup for India? It is debatable considering his overall record at this biggest stage of them all.
Now it should be very surprising considering that as against his career average of 44, Tendulkar stands at 58 in his 35 innings at the World Cup.
So certainly, with such a huge ODI average, Tendulkar must be among the top few contributors in the World Cup. But that precisely is the problem of hyping up the contribution of players to the detriment of Team India.
The Master blaster's average of around 58 in the World Cup hides a very important fact. Most of these runs have come against the minnows. The nations which know cricket just the one way. Chasing the ball all the way to the boundary.
Let's leave out the teams which provide an international feel to the Cup and take traditional real competitors. Teams which are expected to reach the semifinals at least. Apart from India, these teams are England, Australia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, New Zealand and the West Indies.
If we see Tendulkar's record against these seven teams. Well, then it takes an instant beating. In his 24 World Cup innings against these seven real competitors, Tendulkar average comes back to his career average at 43.82.
And it goes further down, if we exclude India's subcontinent rivals Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The teams India has been playing much too often. Against Overseas top rivals, It plummets to a measly 32 per cent.
So Tendulkar's average, when faced with non-Subcontinent Superpowers, thrice winner Australia, twice winner the West Indies, three-time finalist England, South Africa and New Zealand, comes down with a thud.
These teams' dominance against Tendulkar can be judged from the fact that in four tries beginning 1992 World Cup (Tendulkar did not face them in 2007), the master blaster has never been able to score a single century against them. Out of four of Tendulkar's World Cup centuries, only one has come against a real super-power. Against Sri Lanka. Of the rest, one has been against Namibia and two against Kenya.
Now, if the contribution is to be measured in terms of victories, and not runs, even than the performance of India with Tendulkar has not been adequate. India has a positive result only against England, 2-1 courtesy group stage victories in 1999 and 2003 World Cups, and Pakistan, a 4-0 mauling.
Overall, India stands at 10-14 against these seven top nations even with Tendulkar. If we take subcontinent teams away, it comes to be a measly 4 wins against 11 losses against overseas powers.
India's win-loss record against Major Teams
( In World Cups after Sachin's debut)
India are yet to win a match against either Australia or South Africa in the World Cup since Tendulkar's debut. No success in seven tries, that must rankle the great man unless he has decided to make amends in the 2011 World Cup.
But it is highly doubtful if he will manage to reverse this feat of average results against real competitors in his late 30s, he will be 38 then. Something he could not do in his twenties and early thirties, might become even more difficult by then.