Exclusive: Switching on and off will be the key at ICC World Cup 2019 - Sachin Tendulkar
From 1992, Sachin Tendulkar played in every edition, signing off with the 2011 triumph. It was memorable for him, barring the first-round exit in 2007. As India gear up for a fresh campaign, he provides his insight in an exclusive chat.Updated: May 23, 2019 07:27 IST
Sachin Tendulkar played in six World Cups, always producing his best. He owned the biggest stage, aggregating 2278 runs in 45 matches at an average of 56.95, way higher than his overall average. From 1992, he played in every edition, signing off with the 2011 triumph. It was memorable for him, barring the first-round exit in 2007. As India gear up for a fresh campaign, he provides his insight in an exclusive chat.
How is the balance of the Indian team? What must click for India to do well at the World Cup?
We have a balanced team which can go out and do something special. The whole team has to chip in, there will be some performers (in different situations, who must say) ‘this is my game; I am batting well or bowling well’. Support is needed from the other end also.
There’s some concern over the No 4 batting spot?
In the 50-over format there is more time, (and) we have quality batters who can bat any number. We have the batters who can do the job at No 4. I don’t see any problem.
Will the absence of a conventional No 4 batsman put extra pressure on Kohli?
It is not about an individual, it’s about the entire team. The team has to take responsibility. We’ve always believed that if you win, you win as a team, if you lose, you lose as a team. It’s not a sport where individuals take centre stage and the team stays in the background; it is the other way round. The individuals are there supporting each other.
Who would your pick for No 4 be, KL Rahul, Vijay Shankar or Dinesh Karthik?
I wouldn’t want to sit here and pick the team. There are team plans and they will look at the warm-up games and strategise. They will look at the opposition they are playing and pick the eleven.
Kohli and Shastri feel this format (all play all) will be demanding. You’ve played in this format (in 1992)…
It is going to be challenging, so the critical factor is how do you keep your body and mind fresh. It is not about going out and hitting the net session every day. You need to space out well and understand when to take a complete break, to switch off from the game and again prepare before you get into a big game. The timing is going to be critical, how much to push and when to push, and when to back off.
It’s Dhoni’s last World Cup, do you see him making a big impact?
Not only in batting, also behind the stumps. He has got the best view; the batters are always looking for the gaps and what areas to target. Standing behind the batsmen, he can see that. He has plenty of suggestions to make and that would come in handy. His contribution will be in the form of an experienced keeper observing the game and making suggestions. Also, his experience while batting—how to play those critical moments, how to rotate the strike, when to strike, and when to just build a partnership—will count.
Bumrah, Shami and Kuldeep Yadav—is this the best bowling attack we have had?
It’s a very good attack, (but) I don’t like comparisons. In 2003, we played with Zaheer Khan, Ashish Nehra, Javagal Srinath, Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh. In 2011, we had a very good attack and because of that we played the final and won the trophy. Doesn’t mean that attack was better than this attack or this attack is better than the earlier attack. Yes, in 2019, we have played good cricket, done really well in the recent past, so I have respect for this attack also. (But) I have respect for the earlier attack also, for their contribution in that generation. I would just judge them by what they have done in this era; and I would say in this era they have done really well. We have got a complete bowling attack.
Who are your favourites teams?
I needn’t mention India here, it is obvious. The other two teams would be England and Australia. For the fourth team, I am yet to see all the combinations, but I have a feeling New Zealand or Pakistan could be that.
Who are the batsmen you would pick to dominate?
The leading players would go and perform anywhere. You talk about Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Joe Root, you look at Kane Williamson. David Warner is sure going to make an impact. I wouldn’t like to take names at this point as I may miss out on some names.
How different will the conditions be from 1999, when the World Cup was last played in UK? What factors will bring success?
Everything is different. When we played, it was the Dukes ball, now it is Kookaburra. Dukes has a more pronounced seam; it stays harder and there is more bounce than Kookaburra. The rules have also changed; we’re playing with two new balls so reverse swing is out of the game as the ball continues to stay hard. The surfaces have changed. The matches have been high scoring. The average scores have been considerably high, and all these factors have added to it. It is difficult to compare the two World Cups.