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Aussies still trying to unravel Tendulkar mystery

Ashish Shukla | December 03, 2003 13:08 IST

The mighty Australians may have tried every conceivable tactic including sledging to unsettle Sachin Tendulkar but ace spinner Shane Warne has confessed nothing has worked so far in their favour against the little genius.

Describing Tendulkar as the "best batsman by some distance", Warne said all the Australians can do against the Indian maestro is to have a "bowling plan and execute it as best as you can".

"Over the years we have tried all manner of ways to unsettle him. First we sledged him but that did not work. So we tried the silent treatment and that didn't work either.

"So all you can do is to have a bowling plan and execute it as best as you can," Warne told reporters at Brisbane.

The ace leg-spinner, serving a 12-month ban for drug abuse, believes that the Australians would certainly try out a few tricks against Tendulkar in the coming four-Test series.

"I think (Jason) Gillespie is most likely to test him because of his ability to hit the seam," he said.

Warne, hugely successful against all teams except India, was at the receiving end of Tendulkar's fury during his last two tours of India in 1998 and 2000. Tendulkar repeatedly stepped out to the Australian spin legend who has said the Indian batsman gave him "nightmares".

But Warne made no secret of his unapproval of Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly's technique particularly against short- pitched deliveries.

"Short-pitched bowling is his major weakness. I'm not surprised Ganguly is already struggling on the tour. He will have to overcome a lot of chin music to have a successful series," he said adding the Aussie quick bowlers would try to intimidate Ganguly right from the first Test beginning at the Gabba on Thursday.

"The first Test will be on a bouncy Gabba strip and Tugga (Steve Waugh) will have slips and gullies everywhere, because all of Ganguly's shots go through point or behind the wicket."

The leg-spinner, who is also the highest wicket taker for Australia, felt that tearaway fast bowler Brett Lee would "be all over" Ganguly before the end of the Test series.

Lee, who is out of the first Test due to injury, is expected to be fit for the second Test starting at Adelaide Oval from December 12.

Warne said Ganguly would have to come up with some mechanism to deal with the short-pitched stuff and lead by example.

"Ganguly needs to show his team that no matter how hard it is against the short ball, you must hang in there and have a plan - either duck, hook or sway out of the way."

The Indian skipper has himself shown concern on the issue in the past but suggested that he has found ways to battle against a well-directed attack.

Infact, he also flew to Australia in September this year to get some batting lessons from former Australian skipper Greg Chappell.

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