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Tendulkar silences his critics

Ashish Shukla | November 25, 2003 15:30 IST

It is a battle Sachin Tendulkar is not winning, but he is not letting his critics win it either.

An authoritative 80 from the little genius at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on the opening day of the daunting Australian tour may be a timely reminder to his critics who have doubted his ability to bat for long periods.

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"It could be their opinion, but it doesn't have to be a fact," commented Tendulkar, who is normally reticent when it comes to reacting to criticism.

No sooner did the Indians land in Australia than past cricketers in Australia and India, including former India captain Bishan Singh Bedi, had a go at the pocket-sized dynamo.

Bedi made a savage attack on the eve of the tour opener by questioning Tendulkar's ability to bat for long periods and accused him of getting tired in the fifties and sixties.

"He gets tired after 50 or 60," Bedi was quoted as saying in the Herald Sun. "He will score his centuries but he does not have the endurance of our friend Matthew Hayden."

"The beautiful glow that was on Sachin's face when he was coming through is missing," remarked Bedi in the Melbourne newspaper.

Tendulkar, who has scored 67 international hundreds and over 20,000 runs in a distinguished 14-year career, made a fitting riposte to the criticism by belting an outstanding 80 against Victoria at the MCG today. It as good an innings one would see anywhere on a cricket field.

He showed little fatigue or caution before he edged a forcing drive to gully. His innings also made light of criticism by former Australian cricketers Dean Jones and Damien Fleming, who doubted Tendulkar's ability to handle short-pitched deliveries.

"I tell you what, they [Australians] are going to be bouncing the hell out of him. They believe he has a weakness in the top half of his body," remarked Dean Jones, a former Victorian great.

"They believe he is so good at anything around his belly and where the ball comes, height-wise, around the knees and front foot.

"They will want to keep them upstairs around his face. He will be getting what we call chin music," commented Jones.

Fleming, another local, agreed with Jones' comments.

"Of the times I had success against him, a couple of times were with the shorter ball when he props forward and looks to drive, and he has quite a heavy weight," Fleming said.

Tendulkar unleashed a series of spectacular hooks and cuts as the Victorian bowlers dug it in short, and came down the wicket against the leg-spin of Cameron White, something he has not done for a long time.

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