Exclusive: Opening pair critical in Australia, says Sachin Tendulkar

In the run-up to the India vs Australia Test series, cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar shares his views on the importance of the opening pair on a tour Down Under.

SachinTendulkar scored 1809 runs in Australia, at a staggering average of 53.21. India captain Virat Kohli needs just eight runs to reach the 1000-run milestone in Australia.    -  Vivek Bendre

Young Indian opener Prithvi Shaw's ankle injury in a practice game ahead of the Test series versus Australia has curtailed captain Virat Kohli's options for the first match in Adelaide.

Cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar speaks extensively to The Hindu/Sportstar on a range of topics, including the importance of opening pairs when touring Australia.

The discussion veers to India’s best opening pairs in Australia: Sunil Gavaskar-Chetan Chauhan, Gavaskar-Kris Srikkanth and Virender Sehwag-Aakash Chopra, and Tendulkar responds.

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"When you are travelling to these places, the opening pair becomes very critical. In fact, 1, 2 and 3 and sometimes, even No. 4 gets in quickly. The responsibility of 1 to 3 is to play out almost the first 30 overs," he says.

"But that again boils down to the surfaces that you get to play. I said before the start of the England tour that the first 40 overs are critical, after that the ball loses its hardness. There might be a little bit of swing later on, but it just gives you the time to adjust; when the ball is new the hardness of it does not give you the time.

"In Australia, the first 30-35 overs are going to very critical when the ball is new and the seam is upright. Then the seam kind of flattens and fast bowlers may not find zip off the pitch. The first 35 overs would be critical; unless they provide green tops where all the bowlers will be in the game longer," says Tendulkar.  

The most prolific run-scorer in cricket history has a glittering record in Australia. As an 18-year-old, Tendulkar won the approving nod and admiration of the Australian cricket fraternity when he scored an unconquered 148 in the first innings of the Sydney Test and 114 in the first innings of the Perth Test – both on his debut tour of Down Under in 1991-92.

His ability to negotiate the bouncy Australian tracks and that too against the likes of Craig McDermott, Bruce Reid, Merv Hughes, Paul Reiffel and Mike Whitney established his credentials – early on – as a batsman of supreme talent.

Tendulkar scored 1809 runs in Australia, at a staggering average of 53.21. India captain Virat Kohli needs just eight runs to reach the 1000-run milestone in Australia. 

Read the full interview in the coming issue of Sportstar.