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Time for Tendulkar to deliver

From disappointing to dashing, this is what India need from the master blaster, writes Atul Sondhi.

india Updated: Mar 11, 2006 10:19 IST
Atul Sondhi
Atul Sondhi

Chappell has enriched a cricket lover's vocabulary, and an important addition to it has been the term "Reality Check". It is being used more often now, and has made even the best look at their recent past critically, so as not to sit back on their laurels.

One may question the timing of a reality check on Tendulkar? That too after a tremendous show in ODIs in Pakistan!

But why not? After all, most batsmen consider Test cricket the real cricket, and in the last five home series, the Mumbaikarhas not exactly set the stage on fire.

Just one century in last five home-series and only one 50 plus series score! Certainly not a great show from a batsman of Tendulkar's calibre. That is disappointing even for a batsman in moderate form.

        Last five Home series of Sachin Tendulkar
v SL,2005-06 3189 37.80 1/0
v Pak,2004-05325551.000/3
v SA,2004-0525527.500/0
v Aus,2004-0527017.500/1
v NZ,2003-0427117.750/1

Kiwis and Aussies floor the superstar

Two years ago, against a pace-dominated New Zealand attack and world's greatest side Australia, the little master was an utter disappointment, making a measly 142 runs in four Tests. In those eight innings, he reached double figures only twice. Though his 55 in Mumbai against Australia did help India win the Test and reduce the series loss to 1-2.

Flattering to deceive

Against Pakistan at home in 2005, it had looked that Tendulkar was about to rediscover his magic. As many as three times the champion raised the bat after reaching fifty. But the honour of taking off his helmet and waving to the crowd and his band of supporters eluded the superstar. He never reached three figures.

To cap the misery, Tendulkar's failure at Bangalore allowed Pakistan to draw the three-Test series, and take all the fun out of an otherwise creditable average of 51.

There was applause all around as Tendulkar reached a century in style against Sri Lanka at Delhi -- a record breaking 35.

But then the big gun fell silent.

If one were to take out Tendulkar's 35th record-breaking century in the Delhi Test, the little champion averaged only 20 from his other four innings against the Islanders.

But the English are Tendulkar's bunny

Now, even the greatest fans of this cricketing icon will agree that a long innings is overdue from the maestro.

The good news is that Tendulkar too looks to be in the mood. His 28 unbeaten runs off just 19 balls against England at a strike-rate of 147 as India chased an elusive victory at Nagpur, showed that the champion is back in business of belting the ball.

Good for the Indian supporters, and India's prospects in the home series!

For the good of the team, and his own, one will hope that the champion is not too careful at Mohali. His record against the Englishmen has been very impressive.

England in India

In fact, in ten innings against England at Home, including Nagpur, the little champion has a staggering 80 plus average. He has hit two centuries and as many as four fifties.

One will expect him to repeat the act.

And knowing Tendulkar, he will surely love to oblige.

First Published: Mar 11, 2006 10:19 IST