Records not enough for little master Tendulkar
By Adveith Nair and Krishna N. Das
Having dominated international cricket for over 21 years, Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar sets a world record practically every time he steps out on a cricket pitch.
The second India-Australia test that begins on Saturday will be no different. Fans will be counting down the 27 runs the little master needs to become the first ever player to chalk up 14,000 test runs. Given his recent prolific form, it is more than likely the little master will reach that milestone in the southern Indian city of Bangalore with ease.
But in a cricket-mad nation of over a billion people, the expectations don’t end there.
Fans will hope their hero will take them to victory with an innings along the lines of VVS Laxman’s match-winning knock in the first test in Mohali.
Despite his batting prowess, detractors say he has often disappointed when it comes to pressure situations - whether in the World Cup final India lost to Australia in 2003 or the second innings of the previous test, when an upper cut attempt led to his downfall.
Of course, stellar performances through the World Cup league games and a masterful 98 in the first innings of the Mohali test were not enough. It almost seems like the law of averages does not, or rather, should not, apply to the batting maestro.
This has been the albatross around Tendulkar’s neck since the early 90s. While he has made some amends of late, tomorrow’s game might just be the opportunity the little master needs to silence critics and take his team to victory against the Australians.
That this might be the last time he steps out to bat in a test match against Australia — India’s most formidable opponent in recent years – will add to the pressure.
The sheer weight of expectations is staggering but then again Tendulkar should be used to it by now.
* Follow the second test live here at http://blogs.reuters.com/india/2010/10/05/cricket-india-vs-australia/
PHOTO: India’s Sachin Tendulkar hits a shot on the third day of their first test cricket match against Australia in Mohali October 3, 2010. REUTERS/Andrew Caballero-Reynolds