India vs England: Tendulkar calls Virat Kohli & Co. a 'better balanced team'

Ahead of what promises to be an exciting series between India and England, Sachin Tendulkar spelt out what he is looking forward to during the series.

Sachin Tendulkar believes the India-England series will be a 'competitive series'.   -  Getty Images

International cricket is back in India, so is Virat Kohli at the helm of his team. Ahead of what promises to be an exciting series between India and England, Sachin Tendulkar spelt out what he is looking forward to during the series in a chat with Sportstar.

Excerpts...

How significant is this series considering international cricket is returning to India after almost 11 months?
This takes me back to 2008, when Mumbai was under attack. That time also, we were playing England. We had played the ODI series and England during that period (Mumbai terror attacks) had gone to Dubai and they graciously came back to play the Test series. So, it was the same opposition, the same venue. And now after the pandemic, it’s the same opposition and the same venue. I am hoping that the result is also the same. It’s great that cricket has come back to India and people are looking forward to it because India have won in Australia and England in Sri Lanka.

Both the teams are bubbling with confidence. It will be good quality cricket and exciting cricket and I am hoping India will come on top.

READ: Kohli says Pant will don keeping gloves in first Test

Does the series win in Sri Lanka make England a more dangerous outfit?
Yes, yes. There’s no better tonic than victory, for any team. When you start winning, then your mindset is all about ‘even from difficult situations, I can win’. When you are not winning, even from a winning situation, you feel like ‘what if I lose from here!’ That’s the difference between a winner’s and a loser’s mindset. Right now, England are in a winning mind frame. Those teams are always dangerous. It’s going to be a big series.

Cheteshwar Pujara and Vikram Rathour during a training session in Chennai on Thursday.   -  BCCI

 

I feel it’ll be a competitive series. England is an experienced team. I am sure the Indian team has done the homework on where to ball and how to bat against certain bowlers. But it will require a big effort from both teams to produce cricket that everyone is going to appreciate. I feel the standard of cricket will be really high, so it will be an exciting and a closely-fought series. I feel India is a better balanced team and will come out on top.



How tricky would it be to play back-to-back Test matches at the same venue - something that’s never happened before in India?
That’s going to be a new experience. I have never experienced that, playing successive Test matches at the same venue. That’s why the first Test becomes even more critical. It not only sets the tone for the series but also the fact that England will know how this particular pitch is behaving. Accordingly they can start preparing for the next Test. They would also be used to the kind of weather. For example, when we travelled to countries like New Zealand, it used to be really cold at times and we would take time to get adjusted to that; the pitch conditions and how the ball behaves on that particular day. The nature of the surface changes every day and you have adapt accordingly. The team that adapts sooner tends to find the opposition playing the catching game. So the first Test at both the venues is going to be extremely critical.

READ: Australia v India, 2020-21 – a series to remember

How have you seen Joe Root evolve as a cricketer?
I remember when Joe Root played his first Test match, I told a couple of teammates: “here is the future captain of England”. He played smartly, he knew how to rotate a strike. It was evident in that hundred that he knew how to score runs in the first Test match itself and he looked like a busy player and knows how to rotate strike and score runs. He is set to play his 100th Test match now, it’s a fantastic achievement.