April 23, 1999
Tendulkar -- the only one?
Pradeep Bhatta (email@example.com)
It is true that Sachin Tendulkar is among the best of the batsmen India has ever produced, and as is evident from the results of the innumerable opinion polls, he is probably the best contemporary batsman in the world. People have a view that, for India to win the World Cup, Tendulkar has to come up with a magical performance every time he gets on stage. This not only puts a lot of pressure on Tendulkar, but also makes the fans extremely disheartened if he gets out early in the Indian innings. This is rather needless, as there are other batsmen in the team who are capable of producing great performances.
Batting on English wickets under unfamiliar weather conditions will require a lot of adjustment in the approach, and will test the technique and class of the batsman. Fortunately, the Indian batting line-up is talented and has the right experience to do the required adjustments. Undoubtedly Tendulkar would have worked on this aspect, and we might a see a rather different approach from the master batsman in England.
Dravid has great temperament and technique, and considering that he has the highest overseas batting average in the team, he will play a major role in building the innings in the early and the middle overs. It needs to be emphasized that the team should have a sheet anchor who can hold the innings together, and come up with consistent performances. Dravid is best suitable for that role.
Ganguly will have to mix caution with aggression. Ganguly's consecutive Test centuries in England will definitely be on the back of his mind, and will add to his confidence. It will be great to see him and Tendulkar give starts, which the middle order can build on.
Azhar becomes an extremely dangerous batsman when he plays responsibly, and this is something all the Indian fans will be praying for. Azhar is known to rise up to the demands of the situation, and hopefully will set an example to his mates. Jadeja performed well in the 1996 Texaco trophy against England, and is immensely capable of producing extremely valuable innings in the middle order.
The lower order and the tail are also capable of coming up with useful performances. Hopefully Mongia, Srinath, Agarkar and Kumble will get sufficient practice, and their contributions will make a lot of difference.
Thus there is reason enough for one to believe that India is capable of putting up good batting performances. India has five top class batsmen in Tendulkar, Dravid, Ganguly, Azhar and Jadeja. Hopefully they and the rest give their best.
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