One player’s brilliance is not going to help a team win the World Cup: Tendulkar

Tendulkar says the Indian team looks good to make the semifinals, and from there on, the team needs two good days

May 22, 2019 05:36 pm | Updated 06:23 pm IST - Mumbai

Indian captain Virat Kohli with batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar. File

Indian captain Virat Kohli with batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar. File

 Sachin Tendulkar has played six World Cups from 1992 to 2011, 45 matches (44 innings), scored 2278 runs and six centuries. In an interview to The Hindu , Tendulkar shares his thoughts on the Indian team, high-scoring games and more. "It’s a fabulous experience playing the World Cup. I would just tell the team, enjoy the moments.’’

 What does the look of the Indian team tell you ?

 From the skill-set point of view, it’s a balanced team. The team has guys who have been around for a long time, some for seven-eight years and a few for two or three years. So it’s a nicely balanced team from the experience point of view also. I see this team going to the semis. And from there on,  the team needs two good days. It’s all about what happens on that particular day.

 The team’s think tank and the selectors seem to have gone the correct way to pick the team, on the basis of performances in South Africa, England and Australia?

 I think the preparation has been good. And given the amount of cricket played around the world, players learn to adjust on different surfaces.  It’s not like the earlier days when a tour would happen every four years. The batsmen get a chance to play international  bowlers every year, playing with them or against them during the IPL. Players know each other much better now. Someone like Shikhar Dhawan would have faced Kagiso Rabada in the (Delhi Capitals) nets; and vice versa with Rabada bowling to Dhawan.

India played a full series in England last year and hence the players would have a fair idea of what England's all about; pitch and weather wise ?

Having played there would help. But the surfaces for the World Cup would be different. The recent England – Pakistan series was heavy scoring with 350-plus totals. England chased as if they were a piece of cake. There are a number of elements that allow the teams to score that many runs.

I don’t think the bowlers, the fast bowlers in particular are getting assistance. The rules also put pressure on them. With the kind of pitches that are provided and with two new balls in play since 2012, I genuinely believe that we have not been able to witness good quality reverse swing bowling in the death overs by any fast bowler in the last seven years.

It looks like India would lean on its top three in Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli?

Invariably, the top order up to No. 4,  I would say play the big role. But the second half of the batting also plays an important role. They have to finish the game. The whole team has to chip in at different stages of the game. One player’s brilliance is not going to help a team win the tournament, it may put the team in a very good position in a match. One player may have a great game, but the rest must have a decent game too.

 Would you recommend playing two wrist spinners ?

 I would be tempted to play two spinners for sure. When two wrist spinners have bowled in tandem in international cricket, it has always created problems for the batsmen.

In the event of the weather turning out to be a good summer, would it be better to set a target ?

I think the team has to assess things on the day of the match, looking at the kind of pitch, the opposition’s strength, their bowling attack and then take a call. There cannot be a standard formula for these things.If someone has a quality fast bowling attack, if it’s overcast and the pitch has grass, then one has to think differently. It also depends on how long the cloud-cover stays. If the cloud clover remains for two hours, then it’s going to make matters difficult. On a flat wicket, one should be ideally batting first.

Any thoughts on the other teams ?

England of course would be there and I also see Australia fighting hard. With David Warner and Steve Smith back in the team, it's going to make them think differently and play differently.

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