The one and only Tendulkar

AP

Of course, there are many things that can be learnt from Tendulkar, but how is to retain focus at all times is something that the younger lot should find out from him. The reason I say this is because the current generation of cricketers tend to get distracted by the various options that are available to them.

The Indians fought back in the second Test to level the series and retain the No. 1 spot in the ICC rankings, though they were humbled in the first Test.

Though Team India deserves all the credit and the top slot, this is where a two-Test series proves to be a damp squib as there is no real winner as far as the series goes. A third Test would have given an opportunity for both sides to compete hard which would have provided the public great excitement.

Besides, at a time when Test cricket is struggling to hold its own, it is imperative that the schedules provide for a decent dose of Test cricket. However, the two sides had to come to terms with the stalemate and as far as the discerning public is concerned the two-Test series was akin to the screening a Hitchcock movie sans the climax. The hard-fought series raised the expectations for the one-day series and the Indians made the final one-dayer a formality by winning the first two.

The visitors would be pleased with this tour as they managed to draw the series and the one-day series could have been theirs as well had they pulled it off in Jaipur.

In the end, it was a satisfactory series for both the teams but the one-day series will be remembered for one and only reason — the first double hundred ever in a 50-overs-a-side cricket, by Sachin Tendulkar. The little master never ceases to amaze both his fans and his critics, churning out runs in both forms of the game. He played a priceless gem and achieved the historic feat off the last over of the innings in Gwalior but the great effort is an indication of the never depleting mental and physical stamina of Tendulkar.

The physical strength was tested to its maximum and the perennial mental strength ensured that there were no hiccups in achieving the feat on a hot and humid afternoon. The adherence to work ethics even after being on the beat for two decades paved the way for the little master to rewrite history. And at the end of it he must have been drained. But not even the stupendous achievement could deter him from taking the field and it is a lesson for the younger lot to learn.

Of course, there are many things that can be learnt from Tendulkar, but how to retain focus at all times is something that the younger lot should find out from him. The reason I say this is because the current generation of cricketers tend to get distracted by the various options that are available to them.

Talking of youngsters, it was rather disappointing to see them not living up to expectations in the final ODI and on a flat pitch in Ahmedabad, a lot was expected of the batsmen but somehow, the pace of the South Africans disconcerted the young brigade. It was not the surface for bowlers to make their presence felt and that too against some high quality batsmen in good nick, but the likes of Raina, Sharma and Kohli somehow could not force the pace though they made decent scores.

The victories in the Tests and the one-dayers were achieved due to the contribution of the established players and it is a cause for concern that the youngsters are not converting their talent into performances.

The selection committee has zeroed in on some players and has been picking them regardless of their numbers, which is a good sign but somewhere down the line, Srikkanth and Co have to draw a line. Otherwise, it will only serve to make one particular batch of players complacent and demotivate the other batch that is performing well at the domestic level.

The domestic circuit will end shortly with the Vijay Haraze trophy and thankfully for the international stars, they will have some time to recoup before the onset of IPL III.

With the selection committee announcing the probables for the T20 World Cup, the focus will be on the most popular format especially with the IPL slated before the World Cup. That being the case the youngsters will have the added incentive to perform well in IPL III apart from the money and glamour that is normally associated with the high profile tournament.

It will be a very important IPL for someone like Manish Pandey as it was this very tournament that catapulted him to different heights last year and the coming edition may well take him all the way to the top provided he lets his bat do the talking.

Another youngster who will be keen to perform to re-establish his credentials will be R. Ashwin who has been getting the nod from the selectors for the shorter versions in recent times. The young off-spinner has been a part of the T20 and the ODI squads but he needs to do more in IPL III to convince the team management and the selectors to be picked ahead of Harbhajan Singh.