sachin tendulkar the masterblaster
His detractors said he’s too old for the one-day format of the game, and should retire from that form to give an opportunity to one of the youngsters as India shapes its team for the 2011 World Cup to be held in the sub-continent. The critics were also baying for his blood citing his lack of runs in matches that mattered. But, the man in question, a certain Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar, chose to get back at these detractors in the manner he knows best – scoring runs when the team really needed them in the Commonwealth Bank tri-series – the crunch league match against Sri Lanka and the first two matches of the best-of-three finals that helped India defeat Australia and lift the trophy.
Tendulkar amassed 399 runs from the 10 innings that he played in the CB Series at an average of 44.33 and an impressive strike rate of 85.25 with a highest score of 117* to finish second behind only his teammate Gautam Gambhir who scored 440 runs from 10 innings to emerge as the highest run-scorer in the tri-series.
India’s three-month long tour Down Under has given the country potential superstars for the future in the shape of Gambhir, pacer Ishant Sharma, middle-order batsman Rohit Sharma and leg-spinner Piyush Chawla, not to forget the growing stature of Mahendra Singh Dhoni as the country’s T20 and ODI captain. However, the biggest positive and one that is bound to dishearten bowlers around the world is that Tendulkar is showing no signs of letting up!
Yes, Tendulkar was in patchy form during the first half of the CB Series where he often lost his wicket to the new ball and appeared to lose his edge, but all that changed in the 11th match of the tournament when India played Sri Lanka in a must-win game to ensure its place in the finals. Sri Lanka set India a modest target of 180 and Lasith Malinga removed Robin Uthappa early in the Indian run chase. This was the time when Tendulkar decided to take charge of the proceedings and played some breathtaking shots in his attacking knock of 63 off 54 balls to ensure there would be no further hiccups. The sheer arrogance of his shots seemed to deflate the Lankans, and by the time Muttiah Muralitharan managed to dismiss Tendulkar in the 21st over, India were only 60 runs away from victory.
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