India vs Australia: The Sachin Tendulkar interview

In the build-up to the India vs Australia Test series, Sportstar brings you excerpts of an interview with cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar.

"To be able to go there (Australia) and express yourself and do it the way you want, I was quite pleased about that," says Tendulkar.   -  jignesh mistry

Cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar speaks extensively to The Hindu/Sportstar on a range of topics, including India's tour of Australia, where the most prolific run-scorer in cricket history has a glittering record. Tendulkar amassed 1809 runs in Australia, at a staggering average of 53.21. India captain Virat Kohli needs eight runs to reach the 1000-run milestone in Australia.

RELATED| Tendulkar weighs in India's Test series against Australia

Excerpts:       

You toured Australia on five occasions and scored more than 1800 runs there. You must have sweet memories of Down Under.

The (first) Australian trip was one of the defining tours of my life, says Sachin Tendulkar.   -  v.v. krishnan

 

Absolutely! The (first) Australian trip was one of the defining tours of my life. Of course, the first hundred came in England, but in that era, if one scored runs in England and in Australia, you were said to have arrived. So, scoring runs in England and Australia were really important; well scoring runs everywhere is important, but in particular I would say Australia, given the bowling strength that they had.

During the phase I played, the bowlers that I encountered, they ruled world cricket in those days. To be able to go there and express yourself and do it the way you want, I was quite pleased about that.

RELATED| Opening pair critical in Australia, says Tendulkar

Do you think the top order and lower order have to contribute more on this tour?

The batters have to score 350 plus runs and that’s when the bowlers are able to put pressure. But it works both ways, if we were to bowl first, then it is equally important for our bowlers to not allow the opposition to go beyond 300 to 325. Otherwise, our batters come under pressure. With 220 or 240 it’s difficult, because the captain is forced to open out his field much sooner, but if you have runs on the board you can prolong that.

Read | Smiling Aussies will still be fierce opponents, says Tim Paine

How would you view the current Australian team?

The Australian team is not settled. It doesn’t require me to say that, everyone says so. Its batting relied heavily on David Warner and Steve Smith and so that is fragile right now. Its bowling attack is decent, but it will have to think on how to dismiss a strong Indian batting line-up to stay in the game. India has a golden opportunity (to win a Test series in Australia).

Tendulkar has amassed 1809 runs in Australia, at a staggering average of 53.21.

 

Nathan Lyon has picked 318 wickets in 80 Tests. No other finger spinner in the last two decades or so — like Muralitharan, Swann, Harbhajan or Ashwin — has made an impact in Australia...

Tendulkar: "When left-arm seamers are playing, Nathan Lyon is always going to be in the game".   -  getty images

 

A lot boils down to how many left-arm seamers a team has. When left-arm seamers are playing, Nathan Lyon is always going to be in the game. Where there is pace off the surface and bounce and with the rough, everything you edge is going to carry. That creates a lot of opportunities and Lyon has been good.

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Sourav Ganguly said Rohit Sharma is at his peak and should be given an extended run in Test cricket. Do you agree with his assessment?

Rohit has played well and I thought even in South Africa in the second Test match the partnership in the fourth innings was rather good. He had played out that session (morning session of the fifth day) really well, he had left the ball and right ahead of lunch we had lost a wicket. But had that continued till lunch, it would have been different. It's just round the corner and he needs to continue pressing the accelerator as hard as possible.

However, I am not involved in the processes of planning strategy and it wouldn’t be right to sit out and comment on it. There are a number of things which happen in the dressing room and I leave it to the management to decide who will play and how long will he play because they understand it better as they are practising with them and are aware of the mental condition, the physical state and also the pitch conditions. They have all the knowledge to make an informed decision.

Read the full interview in the coming issue of Sportstar.