Shami knows how to take responsibility, says Tendulkar

Sachin Tendulkar gives his semifinal picks for the T20 World Cup, is thoughts on Suryakumar Yadav’s rise and Deepti Sharma’s run out of Charlie Dean.

Shami returned to action in the warm-up game against Australia ahead of the T20 World Cup.

Shami returned to action in the warm-up game against Australia ahead of the T20 World Cup. | Photo Credit: AP

Sachin Tendulkar gives his semifinal picks for the T20 World Cup, is thoughts on Suryakumar Yadav’s rise and Deepti Sharma’s run out of Charlie Dean.

He may not have played a T20 World Cup, but Sachin Tendulkar is keeping a close eye on the proceedings in Australia. He gives a glimpse into how Mohammed Shami is an ideal replacement for Jasprit Bumrah and what makes Arshdeep Singh special.

Yet another T20 World Cup has begun. Do you still get a feeling like it’s “the only major World tournament I didn’t play in my career”?

Aah… actually I never thought of it. It’s the first time someone has asked me this question. No, I have never thought about it.

If you were playing this T20 World Cup, who is the one bowler you would have loved to bat against and take him to cleaners?

Hahaha… That way, if you see, India-Pakistan match is always the biggest match, so the game on the 23rd (October) would be the one (on top my mind).

We have seen Namibia and Scotland having upset two former champions in the first two days of the tournament, still they don’t have fixtures against top teams in the foreseeable future. What can be done to further bridge the gap between the associate nations and full members?

See, the gap is bridged only in shorter formats. The moment you get into longer formats… I was watching Namibia and Netherlands yesterday, and they played good cricket. In the shorter format, associate teams stand a reasonable chance to surprise the opposition because there’s not much time for recovery. In Test cricket, you need a different set of skills to be able to last five days, be competitive and at the top of the game. It requires different skillsets, without any doubt. Here, because the format is short, the gap is bridged, which leads to more chances of upsets. If you drop down to T10, it might become even more, so in the shorter the format, the gap is lesser. That’s what I feel.

Majority of the faces in India’s likely starting line-up on October 23 are the same as the last year. Do you think India will fare much better than it did last year?

We have more or less the same players and obviously, a couple of faces are going to change here and there. We lost out on (Jasprit) Bumrah, which is obviously a big loss. The kind of bowler he is, he adds value to the team big time and his absence is a big loss. But the replacement is Mohammed Shami, someone who has been around for a long time and is a senior bowler who knows how to take responsibility. He has proven it in the past, so I feel that few changes are there. Among new young faces, Arshdeep (Singh) has shown very good temperament. It’s impressive to see how balanced he is. I have been watching his bowling and whatever he has planned, he commits to it. In this format, committing to your plan is important. Batters are going to be innovative, they are going to try different shots but if a player has a plan in his head and he is committed to it - doesn’t get rattled by a couple of shots here and there - he’ll be able to execute it much better than the rest.

You have witnessed Suryakumar Yadav and Hardik Pandya’s development since their early days. What do you think has changed in the last 12 months for them?

Let me start with Hardik. He has worked hard. He’s had a tough ride. The good thing is he hasn’t taken a backward step, instead worked hard, has been focused on his game, and has made a fantastic comeback. With Surya, he was always capable of playing some amazing shots. The skill sets that he has is as good as anyone today. He’s proven that in this format of the game. It is about appreciation and encouragement from people around him which has reflected in the way he has played on the field. The confidence and knowing that people have appreciated it has given him wings to fly and explore. He is at a stage right now where he isn’t worried about his position in the team. Now that he has cemented his position in the team, he is ready to take a giant step on the World stage.

While watching Surya or another new-age batter, do you ever get a feeling about a certain stroke that “I thought about playing it but could never dare to” because of the era you played in?

When you are not exposed to that, you don’t think about it. Maybe, what these guys are playing today, ten years down the line there will be something else but today there’s no need for it. I remember, Andy Flower came and he was playing reverse-sweep in Test cricket. A number of guys - even I played it against South Africa at Wankhede Stadium when we played South Africa and Australia in a tri-series in 1997 - had played it in ODIs before that time. Andy was playing it regularly in Test cricket, that’s where I thought that he was possibly seven-ten years ahead of the rest of the guys. Over a period of time, reverse-sweep would be played in Test cricket. So right now, what the guys are playing, ten years down the line, we can see some other shots being played.

How do you define spirit of cricket?

Spirit of cricket… whatever you are playing within the rules of the game, that is spirit of cricket.

Would you have run-out a non-striker for backing up too far?

It’s a rule now. If a player is short of the crease or doesn’t make the crease, then the batter is given out, right? Just like he misses a ball that’s heading toward stumps and in line of the stumps, he is given out lbw. So the ICC has introduced the rule that if you are out of the crease (before the ball is bowled), then you are run out.

So do you think the Deepti Sharma episode was blown out of proportion?

She was playing to what the laws of the game are.

Your semifinal picks and possibly the champion’s prediction?

Champion… I would want India to be the champion but my top four would be India, Pakistan, Australia and England. New Zealand is a dark horse, so is South Africa because they know the conditions and in South Africa, you get to encounter these conditions in September-October. Pitches are more or less the same, that’s why I am saying the same. But the top four would be these, the other two are dark horses who may sneak in from the back door

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