THE man who accompanied Sachin Tendulkar to his maiden Test century in Australia has urged the champion to continue attacking the bowlers as a ploy to overcome the nerves that have shackled his bid for a 100th international ton.
Ravi Shastri, at the other end when Tendulkar blasted a century as an 18-year-old at the SCG in 1992, has noticed a change in the maestro’s approach each time he has neared the milestone and believes the batsman, by staying true to his game, can finally tick off the landmark century.
Shastri detected a change in Tendulkar’s tactics in the Melbourne and Sydney Tests when he passed 50 with ease only to tighten up because of the situation of the match.
At the MCG, he retreated as the end of play approached on the second day and was dismissed for 73 in the final over of play. Similarly in his second innings in Sydney, Tendulkar (pictured) moved effortlessly to 80 on a benign pitch but was brought undone playing a defensive prod to Michael Clarke’s part-time spin.
”Michael Clarke to get one to turn and take the outside edge, on another day he would have attacked Clarke,” said Shastri, who is commentating in Australia with ESPN.
”It’s just the kind of dismissals we’ve seen with Tendulkar. Again, it’s approaching the milestone. If he just keeps the tempo going and forgets about the milestone, just treat the bowling on merit, he’ll be fine.”
Unless it makes the finals, India has just four matches left in the tri-series and Tendulkar possibly fewer, should the World Cup champion continue its rotation policy. Consequently, interest in Tendulkar’s 100th international century is back on the rise after waning since the end of the Test series.
Cricket NSW believes the milestone plus the desire to give Tendulkar a fitting send-off in what is surely his farewell tour of the country are responsible for today’s match between Australia and India at the SCG nearing a sell-out.
Interest in India, however, has remained at fever pitch. One TV network has told its correspondent, who was set to leave after the Tests, to remain in Australia until Tendulkar makes that century.
Shastri dismissed notions Tendulkar was out of form despite a modest average of 32 in seven internationals this summer and this being his longest run without a ton.
”If you saw him batting in the first two Test matches he was batting as well as any player from either side, if not better,” Shastri said.